Quebec filmmaker Arcand closes Cannes on comedic note
Montreal-based filmmaker Denys Arcand's comedy L'Âge des ténèbres (Age of Darkness) was the official closing film at the 60th Cannes Film Festival on Sunday.
The $7.5 million film tells the story of civil servant Jean-Marc, played by Marc Labrèche,who has an unsatisfying job and equally displeasing home life.
The government employee is plagued by a high-powered wife who doesn't have time to listen and daughters so engrossed in video games they fail to acknowledge his general presence in the home.
Age ofDarkness is the final instalment in a trilogy from Arcand that explores sex and mores, which began in 1986 with The Decline of the American Empire and continued with The Barbarian Invasions, for which Arcand wonanAcademy Award for best foreign film in 2004.
Arcand said this film is the lightest ofthe three, despite the heavy-sounding title.
"They're big titles, and the films are small films," he joked in an interview with the Associated Press.
"It started when I did The Decline of the American Empire. I did this film which was basically about sex, about couples cheating on one another and stuff like that, and we didn't know what to call it.
"I came up with the title and everybody said, that's ridiculous, and it worked perfectly," Arcand said while in Cannes.
Arcand said he used slapstick comedic elements in a filmfor the first time in Age of Darkness, to provide a break from its criticisms of the blandness of modern life.
While Arcand is a veteran of the celebrity life, the character Jean-Marc dreams of a glamorous existence in an effort to escape from the mundane.
Jean-Marc dreams of provocative shower visits with a gorgeous actress played Diane Kruger and envisions himself as a famous author, a Roman emperor and as Prince Charming (played by singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright).
When berated by his tough-talking, sexy superior at work, he imagines her tied up and being carried away by men in loincloths.
The film is screening out of competition at the festival, which Arcand said was no surprise.
"Somehow, juries or people who vote, take themselves extremely seriously. Comedy … says something about the world: 'We are all ridiculous.' And people who take themselves seriously don't want to hear that."
The Genie award-winning TheDecline of the American Empire also garnered a critics trophy at Cannes while TheBarbarian Invasions captured a screenplay prize at the 2003 festival.
Arcand has directed two dozen films, including Jesus of Montreal and Stardom.
With files from the Associated Press