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Jean-Marc is a man without qualities living in times that are out of joint. His wife and children ignore him; he's a mid-level civil servant in Montreal doing his job without care. He has an active imagination of sexual conquest, but his only real feelings come when he visits his aged mother, whose health is failing. When his wife leaves abruptly to work in Toronto, Jean-Marc sets out to reorder things with his daughters, his social life, and at work. In a world that at best is a farce, does he stand a chance? Written by
A new comic approach to middle age by Denny Arcand
By mid eighties, living in South America, I attended a showing of "The Decline of the American Empire" in a long (festival) cut. There were a lot of buzz about this Canadian movie; it was serious Oscar contender, had won in Cannes and so on. For about two hours, I witnesses four women talking about sex, four men talking about sex and the eight together talking about sex. All of them a bunch of intellectual college professors (with some socialist political tendencies). Against all odds and expectations, it was one of the most funny and interesting movies I ever saw.
Twenty years later, the same eight characters came back for a follow up with a few new ones. It was called "The Barbarian Invasions". This time, sex was not the subject but the social environment and changes. People had matured and political tendencies too. Aside from winning the Oscar this time, it was no better but a perfect companion to the first one. Now, few years later comes "L' Age des Tenebres" (in English "The age of ignorance" or "The Time of Darkness"). It was labeled as the third part of a trilogy but it has no relation with the other two aside from one character briefly appearance.
This time, we follow the story of Jean-Marc Leblanc. An underachiever public servant; married to an ambitious real estate broker who ignores him (well, mutually). Jean Marc survives his frustrations on fantasies (some of them sexual with four gorgeous women he has some kind of relation. When his wife leaves him on a job opportunity, he falls down a tries to get a grip of the real word, however things are not that easy. If you think it looks like "American Beauty" you are not completely wrong but this movie goes further and not as PC as "American Beauty" did. Well, at least there is no need to kill the main character. "L' Age des Tenebres" is coming of age (or a coming to terms) comedy about people facing reality a little too late.
It falls short compared to the other two parts; even when it is probably more commercial and accessible but compared to similar attempts from other directors is really a masterpiece.
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