“What a sad way to spend a Sunday evening,” a fellow audience member remarked to us as we exited the Cinematheque Theatre last night. “The movie certainly had me in tears,” I said. We had just seen the French film The Auction.
Directly translated from the French its title is The Dismantlement and I think that is probably a truer reflection of its story than the English title The Auction. After spending his life working to maintain his family’s sheep farm in rural Quebec, the owner Gaby decides he will have to auction it off. So begins the dismantlement of his life as he has known it for all of his 63 years. His devotion to the farm has cost him his marriage, a close relationship with his daughters and grandsons and alienation from his own brothers.
When his daughter brings his grandsons to visit and shares the news that she is divorcing and needs money to keep her home, Gaby decides he will sell everything to help her, even though it means he must auction off his land, house and sheep herd and move into a small apartment in the city and find a job.
Watching him dismantle his life is heart-rending. I suspect there were few dry eyes in the audience when he must take his closest friend his dog, to be euthanized because he can’t find a home for him and his new apartment doesn’t allow pets.
The movie reminded me of the play Kim’s Convenience which we saw this week. The Korean father in the play who has dedicated his life to making his convenience store a viable business, comes to the realization that, “This store is not my story. My children are my story.” In The Auction, Gaby the sheep farmer voices the same sentiment when he tells his daughter that the farm is not the most important thing in his life, she and her sister are.
Watching two sixty something men in dramas this week come to terms with what really counts in life, provides food for thought for other sixty year olds like me.
Other posts about movies…….