To dismantle something is to destroy it, to level it, to annihilate it. The target of destruction in this second feature by Sébastien Pilote is Gaby Gagnon’s sheep farm, where he’s spent the last 40 years of his life, minus three days’ vacation. Now 63 years old, the stoic sheep farmer and divorced father of two “princesses” living in Montreal is getting ready to make a fresh start. But putting all his possessions on the auction block in order to move into a cramped city apartment proves to be quite an ordeal. In his 2011 film Le vendeur (The Salesman), Pilote told the story of a man who refuses to retire. With Le démantèlement, the filmmaker once again delivers a brilliant portrait of a man facing retirement. Rich, visually stunning and beautifully crafted, the film examines the sacrifices a father is willing to make for the sake of his daughters, Marie (Lucie Laurier) and Frédérique (Sophie Desmarais), but also those made every day by farmers trying to survive in today’s Quebec. Anchored by a powerful yet understated performance by a near-silent Gabriel Arcand, this intimate and socially conscious drama won the SACD prize for
best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival’s International Critics’ Week.