2007, Movies

L’Age des Tenebres (2007, Denys Arcand)

Regrettably, this entire review contains a rather major spoiler. So if you have any interest in seeing this Denys Arcand dark comedy/dramedy about your dreams not matching your reality, read no further.

SPOILERS!

This is the second Quebec film I’ve seen about LARPs, but the first to be made – the other one I’ve seen, the Wild Hunt, came out a few years after this. They take very different approaches. The reason I think Quebec makes films about them is because of the existence of Bicolline.

I feel like just mentioning that this features a LARP is a rather huge spoiler. And that’s why I put the warning above. Because, you see, until Jean Marc goes speed-dating, we have no idea he’s going to end up in a LARP. Rather, it’s just a fairly middle of the road black comedy about someone stuck in the modern world, doing something they don’t enjoy, and fantasizing about other lives. The fantasies are often pretty funny, but this is not exactly a new concept; after all, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” was published in 1939 and there may even be earlier examples.

Just as in The Wild Hunt, participating in a LARP completely changes our hero, only instead of turning into a horror movie, this film just gets more dramatic (or dramedy-ish), just a little more serious than it was previously.
It’s an interesting contrast. This is the superior film in every way – it’s funnier, it’s more tonally consistent, it doesn’t have clear budget problems, it has a lot more to say about our modern condition – but I think I enjoyed The Wild Hunt more as an experience.

7/10

  • Directed by Denys Arcand
  • Produced by Denise Robert, Daniel Louis, Dominique Besnehard
  • Written by Denys Arcand
  • Starring
    • Marc Labrèche : Jean-Marc Leblanc
    • Diane Kruger : Veronica Star
    • Sylvie Léonard : Sylvie Cormier-Leblanc
    • Caroline Néron : Carole Bigras-Bourque
    • Véronique Cloutier : Line
    • Rufus Wainwright : le prince charmant chantant
    • Macha Grenon : Béatrice de Savoie
    • Emma de Caunes : Karine Tendance
    • Didier Lucien : William Chérubin
    • Rosalie Julien : Laurence Métivier
    • Monia Chokri : Aziza
    • Jean-René Ouellet : Saint Bernard de Clairvaux
    • André Robitaille : le supérieur immédiat
    • Hugo Giroux : Thorvald le Viking
    • Christian Bégin : le motivateur hilare
    • Pierre Curzi : Pierre
    • Gilles Pelletier : Raymond Leclerc
    • Johanne-Marie Tremblay : Constance Lazure
    • Françoise Graton : Madame Leblanc
    • Jacques Lavallée : Romaric
    • Michel Rivard : le curé
    • Thierry Ardisson : himself
    • Laurent Baffie : himself
    • Bernard Pivot : himself
    • Donald Sutherland : himself
  • Music by Philippe Miller
  • Cinematography by Guy Dufaux
  • Edited by Isabelle Dedieu
  • Distributed by Alliance Films
  • Release date: December 7, 2007
  • Running time: 104 minutes
  • Country: Canada, France
  • Language: French
  • Budget: $6.4 million

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