The Auction (2013)

Gabriel Arcand, Gilles Renaud, Lucie Laurier, Sophie Desmarais,
When his grown daughter returns to the family farm in desperate need of money, solitary and stoic Gaby will be asked to sacrifice everything for those closest to him. WINNER - Cannes Film Festival
  • 7.0 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Sébastien Pilote, Director:
  • Marc Daigle, Bernadette Payeur, Producer:


8 / 10

Towering lead performance will leave you in awe

"The Auction" (2013 release from Canada; 111 min.; original title "Le démantèlement" or "The dismantling") brings the story of Gaby, a 60-somethingh year old sheep farmer in the northern part of Quebec. Gaby has spent his whole life there, but is now alone, his brothers having left him, then his wife, then his 2 daughters Marie and Frederique, who chose the life in the big city (Montreal). Then one day, Marie and her 2 little boys visit Gaby. She tells him that she has left her husband Steve, and that she needs money to buy out Steve's half of the house. Gaby is determined to help her, but soon realizes he may need to sell his beloved farm to do so. Will Gaby sell the farm and dismantle his entire existence? To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: first and foremost, this is essentially a movie about a farmer's life, and as such the movie moves at a snail's pace, and I mean that as a (high) compliment. The farm's environment is showcased time and again, to great effect. Second, Gabriel Arcand, in the role of Gaby, brings a towering performance that will leave you wowed at the end of the movie (he won the Canadian Oscar-equivalent for Best Actor, and much deserved at that). Third, kudos to writer-director Sebastien Pilote for bringing this story, he scored several nominations for this movie at the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars (but didn't win). Last but certainly not least, the movie has a fantastic soundtrack, composed by Serge Nakaushi-Pelletier. I am going to check if by chance the soundtrack is commercially available. Bottom line: "The Dismantling" (much better title than "The Auction") is an emotionally taxing movie that is worth the investment, time-wise, money-wise and emotion-wise.

This movie was the March, 2014 release in the on-going series of Film Movement's DVD-of-the-Month Club of foreign and indie movies, and the DVD will be released to the public at large in August, 2014. As usual, the DVD comes with a number of bonus materials, and also a nice animated shortie ("The Giant", 2013 release from Spain; 11 min.), equally worth checking out. "The Auction" is another very worthy addition to the ever-growing Film Movement library. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

9 / 10

The meaning of land and family history - "Le démantèlement"

Canadian writer/director Sébastien Pilote has created a fine little film that in many ways plays like an elegy to times past. The film moves slowly, like a gentle stroll in the Canadian countryside, the action is spare, the acting is excellent and the message is exquisite.

Canadian farmer Gaby Gagnon (Gabriel Arcand) tends his sheep on his lovely little farm in northern Quebec and much of the essence of the film is his interaction with the land and the animals that have been his life. He has named the highly regarded farm Bouchard & Sons, hoping his farm will be passed to his sons. But instead of sons he has two daughters – Frédérique (Sophie Desmarais) and Marie (Lucie Laurier) - and both have moved away from the farm to Montreal and into different lives. Marie and her 2 sons visit Gaby requesting financial support: she has left her husband Steve and needs to buy Steve's half of the house to maintain her family. Gaby wants to help her but realizes that the only source of money he has is Bouchard & Sons, which would mean essentially ending Gaby's home and way of life. It is a conflict well resolved by the writer/director.

The sense of isolation, need, seclusion and yet camaraderie with his fellow farmers who know and love nothing more than the life of a farm makes this a very nostalgic film. Gabriel Arcand is luminous as Gaby and every moment of his struggle we feel intensely. The film score by Serge Nakaushi-Pelletier is at once simple and eloquent and the cinematography by Michel La Veaux captures the essence of the Canadian countryside. In all, this is a gentle, quiet, slow moving film about emotional decisions and family commitment and traditions and it plays very well indeed.

8 / 10

quietly powerful

Gaby Gagnon owns a sheep farm left to him by his father in Quebec. He's a simple old man of simple means. His daughter Marie visits him with her two sons. She tells him that she left her absentee husband Steve. She wants $200k to keep the house and buy out Steve. He can't get a loan. After spending his life giving everything to his daughters, he considers selling the farm.

There is a dignified sadness to the farmer. It seems to be a simple idea with a quietly powerful concept. Then the dog happens and the movie takes it to another level. His brother shows up. More is revealed about his life. There is a powerful scene with his other daughter. It could probably be tightened up a little but I wouldn't cut any of the major scenes. The performances are pitch perfect and it is such a poignant movie.

10 / 10

Director Sébastien Pilote continues to show his genuine concern for underdogs.

According to a World Bank report published in 2012,the population density (number of people per square kilometer) in Canada was last reported at 3.75 in 2010.This explains how peculiar is the case between land and people in Canada,a huge nation with vast land resources where it is almost impossible to find a human soul for hundreds of kilometers.A very small part of this aspect has been depicted by director Sébastien Pilote in his latest film "Le Démantèlement"/The Dismantling.At the core of the film is Gaby a quiet farmer who is happy living on his farm with his dog and sheep.The arrival of his daughter with financial worries and other circumstances force him to part with his farm and its animals which he reared as if they were his own children. The clash between ancient and modern is quite evident in this film as Gaby has not known any other form of life beyond the confines of his farmhouse. This is why something as elementary as an internet connection does not make much sense to him. Like in his first film "The Salesman",director Sébastien Pilote seems to continue with his concern for the underdog and a way of life which would soon disappear. He shows us that Gaby is an ordinary man whose disappearance would herald the disappearance of a good part of the village. There are religious associations too with this film.However, it would not matter a lot to this film if they are kept in the background. The film is rich in its narrative structure and clearly explains what is happening in Gaby's life and under what circumstances ? Actor Gabriel Arcand, brother of important Canadian director Denys Arcand, looks extremely convincing in his role as Gaby-a farmer who sacrifices everything to make his family happy. What makes his help special is that he does not boast at all about what he is doing.Lastly, a great film for those who are researching the phenomenon of the disappearance of smaller town and cities and factors related to it.

8 / 10

When urban life demands, rural life affects severely.

This is the story of a Canadian farmer which was told in a quite realistic mode. A man who lives in the countryside and his way of life was presented beautifully on the screen. It also speaks the value of the family members even though each of them are spread out to different places seeking a better life and future. I had seen many movies that depict the farmers' lives around the world, but this part of the world probably first time for me.

The story of a father who live alone in a country farm on which he raises livestocks. Among the best in the surrounding area and people are jealous of it. One day one of his daughters comes asking financial help. As a father how he reacts to the circumstance to give support to his daughter. For that he has to sacrifice his way of life he led in the last 40 years, which ends in a high note emotion.

I am quite happy for choosing this. It was an heartwarming melodrama. Many touchy lines reached real deep into me. The character Gaby was the highlight of the movie. The actor who did that role was fantastic, must recognize and acknowledge it. The movie was too slow though well executed in every part of the story. Strictly for drama movie fans and family audience. It was a simple and good movie. There's nothing more to talk about than a watch and to know it yourself.