Age of Darkness, The (2007): Denis Arcand’s Controversial Film

Quebec director Denys Arcand and producer Denise Robert had won the 2004 Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar for “Les Invasions barbares” (“The Barbarian Invasions”).

“The Barbarian Invasions” won two awards at the Cannes Film Fest, and producer Robert expected their new film to be there, too.

They have encountered controversies from the Canadian media regarding their new film, “The Age of Darkness” (“L’ge des tnbres), the closing night (May 27) of the 60th Cannes Film Fest.

“The Age of Darkness” is a French-language feature about a man who’s so unhappy with his life that he creates an alternate fantasy world.

This calls for a rushed post-production on a film that includes CGI effects, which Arcand, who has never used special effects, is adding in a Parisian editing room.

The Cannes Fest invite also meant delaying the film’s theatrical release in Quebec, initially scheduled for late May, and now to take place as late as December.

So why the negative buzz in the media for a film that no one has seen?

Big issue is, whether the quality of the film will inevitably go through the same process of Arcand’s Stardom, a look at fame and the fashion industry, which also premiered in Cannes, was one of his few disappointing features.

Robert, who’s Arcand’s wife, has claimed that the lengthy post-production process for L’ge des tnbres is understandable, due to Arcand’s working procedures.

L’age des tnbres has been plagued by controversies. In July, the Montreal daily La Presse published a letter signed by 43 filmmakers (including Lea Pool and Robert Lepage) complaining about the high-level funding for features developed and produced by Robert.

A counter-letter of support, signed by other members of the film industry, including producer Roger Frappier, was then sent the following week.