The Handyman / “L’homme à tout faire” (1980)  (Dubbed into English)

The Handyman / “L’homme à tout faire” (1980) (Dubbed into English)

Armand Dorion (Jocelyn Bérubé), a thirty-three-year-old unemployed carpenter, is a well-meaning, romantic dreamer who falls in and out of love at the drop of a hat. When his wife (Pauline Lapointe) walks out on him after ten months of marriage, Armand and his friend Coque-l’oeil (Paul Dion) leave the Gaspé for Quebec City, where Armand falls in love with a high school nymphet (Danielle Schneider). Following a short affair, she rejects him for Coque-l’oeil, and Armand is off to Montreal in search of new loves and fortunes. ThérPse (Andrée Pelletier), a bored suburban housewife, hires him to remodel her basement as a surprise for her husband, Bernard (Gilles Renaud), who is away on one of his numerous business trips. The job keeps getting extended and, after a period of stepping over and around each other, they fall in love. Upon his return, Bernard, indifferent to the affair, announces that he and ThérPse are moving to Hull, and Armand is on his own again.

A marvellously sensitive and eloquent film, this gentle and unpretentious comedy of manners marked an auspicious directorial debut by actress Micheline Lanctôt, whose screenplay and direction earned two of the film’s six Genie Award nominations. Rich in detail and character, the film’s taut script, fine lead performances and witty portrait of Quebec society make it a fine example of regional filmmaking. Lanctôt demonstrated an impressive degree of skill and grace while working with a minuscule, $500,000 budget.