The fourth feature by the immensely gifted Quebec filmmaker Maxime Giroux may be set during the Second World War but parallels with our own troubled times are unmistakable. In Giroux’s follow-up to his marvelous cross-cultural romantic drama FELIX & MEIRA (KCFF 2015), Martin Dubreuil plays a pacifist whose efforts to avoid the draft back in Canada send him on a surreal and sometimes disturbing odyssey across America. Among the folks he’s unlucky enough to encounter are a con man played by French star Romain Duris and Sarah Gadon as a woman with a sadistic streak. As cruel as the world of THE GREAT DARKENED DAYS may sometimes be, Giroux’s idiosyncratic spin on the picaresque is still a feast for the eyes thanks to Sara Mishara, the cinematographer for other equally fine films like TU DORS NICOLE (KCFF 2015). Giroux’s playful wit also ensures a little light creeps into this darkness.
Maxime Giroux began his career by making over 100 video clips for Quebecois, Canadian and French artists. He then turned to advertising and worked for prestigious brands. He now has more than 100 advertisements to his credit. Concurrently, Maxime Giroux has directed several short films which have been shown at over fifty festivals. The films have won some fifteen international awards, including best short film at TIFF and the FNC, and a 2007 Genie Award for best short film. TOMORROW (DEMAIN), his first feature film, was selected for official competition at Torino and earned a special jury mention at Tübingen. JO FOR JOHNATAN (JO POUR JONATHAN), his second feature film, had its world premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2010. It then screened at some forty film festivals. Along the way, it won the Prix GillesCarle for best film at the RVCQ, the Prix AQCC for best film at the FNC, the Cinema and the City Award at Thessaloniki, the best film award at the Gotham Film Festival and two best actor awards for Raphaël Lacaille at Gotham and Whistler. His third feature film FÉLIX & MERIA won Best Canadian Film at the Toronto International Film Festival and is in official competition at the San Sebastian festival. It is then presented in more than sixty festivals where he won more twenty prizes, and in September 2015, it tapped as Canada’s Oscar foreign-language film contender 2016