One of the best films of the year, Days of Darkness takes what could be a difficult and tedious subject -- getting old -- and makes if poignant and gripping by filtering it all through the prism of one man's declining years as a sexual being. French-Canadian actor Marc Labreche plays Jean-Marc, a Walter Mitty sort with thick, coke-bottle glasses and a mousy speaking voice, who has a mundane office-cubicle existence, helping injured people file claims against the state in what seems to be a near-futuristic, independent state of Quebec.

It's hard to say whether the film intends to make a strong statement on that possibility, but if it does, then it must be decidedly negative. This futuristic Quebec is terribly mismanaged, with taxpayer money being spent on organizations like Humor-Quebec, which employs a man to go around to offices like Jean-Marc's and instruct people on how to laugh. Jean-Marc is only slightly conscious during these kinds of office seminars, however -- he's focused on his fantasy life, which intrudes on reality whenever he has a few minutes to nod off.

His fantasy file is thick with subjects -- there's his blond supervisor at the office, who calls him to the carpet for every infraction and on whom he seeks revenge by crafting for her a fantasy scene that is, to his mind, exceedingly cruel. Specifically, he imagines her as being made the sex slave of several large, black men who pull her around by a choker. Then there's an anonymous fantasy brunette who acts as a sexual component to Jean-Marc's various 'success fantasies.'