Days of Darkness

This Week in Film: March 20th 2008

Denys Arcand begins this week in film with his most recent work Days of Darkness, while I also take a look at the Canadian Film Festival, a Rue Morgue screening, a little drama at the Royal and hope to inspire some doom into your long weekend.

In the wake of his Academy Award winning film The Barbarian Invasions, Days of Darkness slips easily into Arcand's familiar style, featuring a dejected civil servant (Jean-Marc) who finds himself consistently cocooning into fantasies which include the gorgeous Diane Kruger, while feeling ineffectual in his real life. To inject his film with realism, Arcand made the decision to have the situations Jean-Marc deals with at work, a boy being threatened at school and a woman pleading for her husband, an Arab man, to be freed from prison, taken from true events. Days of Darkness can be seen at the Cumberland Cinema starting this weekend.

Starting tonight at the Royal Cinema is French new-wave filmmaker Jacques Rivette's most recent film The Duchess of Langeais (released at festivals as Ne Touchez pas le Hache.) Based on a Balzac novel under the French title, the film is Rivette's take on a costume drama set in the early 1800's in Paris, where a coquettish Duchess plays with the heart the wrong man (Gerard Depardieau!) The film has received rave reviews... amongst people who like this sort of film, so if that is you, you will probably be pleased.

Tonight at 9:30, Rue Morgue's Cinemacabre Movie Nights presents the French horror film Ils at the Bloor Cinema. While I don't know much about it, it seems to have the basics of a great horror film: couple move to rural area, old creaky house, sabotaged cars and violent intruders. But basically, if Rue Morgue declares it scary you know it must be good.

In festival news, the Canadian Film Festival begins this Tuesday delivering works such as Maple Flavour Films, a documentary about one directors travels across the country asking people about the Canadian film industry, to Rock Paper Scissors: The Way of the Tosser and Confessions of a Porn Addict. The latter stars Spencer Rice from Toronto's beloved Kenny vs. Spenny and has a nice write-up in eye this week.

On a final note, I will admit I've been wrong in the past. I've recommended films that readers took a chance on and hated (I still stand by DungeonSeige, but I can understand your pain.) But please take it to heart while I try to explain why Doomsday by Neil Marshall, is pretty much a new modern classic. It's outrageously over the top, has a car chase that beats Death Proof, employs a bad-ass leading lady, has Malcolm McDowell as a crazy self-made Scottish king and enough substance to match the almost overwhelming style. Add a raging virus or two, mix and enjoy.

Image: Days of Darkness from Alliance Atlantis Films

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