Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Barbarian Invasions |
Les Invasions Barbares
Actors: Dorothée Berryman, Isabelle Blais, Markita Boies, Denis Bouchard, Toni Cecchinato
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Special Interests, Mystery & Suspense
Academy Award(R) winner for Best Foreign Language Film in 2003, THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS is a provocative look at the many ties that bind a group of friends and lovers. It's not easy for a narrow-minded professor (Rémy Gira... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
S A A. (Learned2Heal)
Reviewed on 10/21/2008...
Just saw this movie with my husband and we were very impressed by the depth and intelligence of it. A very deep, very touching, very interesting movie. All those awards and nominations were well deserved!
Even so, as good as the movie was, surprisingly, the best part is in the special features, where all the characters are reunited for a long, relaxed, and conversationally rich dinner. What a great idea! So much better and more rewarding than interviewing a couple of the main characters and maybe the director, sitting rigidly in an armchair, with a microphone shoved in their face, nodding mechanically, and answering a few questions by rote. This informal and congenial setting (not to mention the fine food and the wine)really brought out the true personalities and genuine thoughts of all the actors. And they were very insightful and intelligent in their comments and observations about life, death, the movie itself and their respective roles in it. This special feature was about as long as the movie itself and every bit as engaging, if not more so. Recommend it highly!
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Death of a bon vivant
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 09/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Infrequently, if at all, does a film for general release revolve around normal, natural death, i.e. one not brought on by fanged space aliens, world-renting cataclysms, wild gunfights, or some other Tinseltown special FX. Hollywood script writers should walk though any cemetery sometime. Not since the 2001 tour de force, WIT, starring Emma Thompson, has the topic been intelligently portrayed. Now comes THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS, a powerful French Canadian film of albeit misleading title.London investor Sebastien (Stephane Rousseau) is summoned home to Quebec by his mother, Louise (Dorothee Berryman) to attend the approaching death of his father, Remy (Remy Girard). Father and son have been long estranged - ever since Remy and Louise divorced. Remy, an outspoken Professor of History and a self-described "sensuous socialist", has spent his life indulging in wine, women, song, and learned conversation. Especially women. The reunion shows little promise of succeeding, especially after a stormy shouting match in Remy's bleak hospital room that leaves the audience facetiously asking, "That went well, don't you think?" But, after Louise reminds her son of a paternal love long forgotten, then filial duty and guilt compel Sebastien to use his considerable wealth to arrange an easier transition for Old Dad by improving the conditions of his hospitalization, and to gather around his treasured friends, colleagues, and mistresses.The "star" is Remy, who, at the end of his life, contemplates and comes to accept the final sum of it. This exercise would be thought-provoking enough in itself, but writer/director Denys Arcand also interweaves into the plot such prickly subjects as socialized medicine, euthanasia, and the use of illegal drugs to ease terminal medical conditions. About universal health care as practiced in Canada, in the bureaucratic, union-controlled, and overcrowded web of which he is now entangled, Remy stubbornly rants that since he voted for it, he certainly wasn't going to run off to the United States for something less squalid.Every role in this Cannes Film Festival award-winner is excellently played. Best Actress went to Marie-Josee Croze as Nathalie, the heroin-addicted daughter of one of Remy's ex-mistresses, who is recruited by Sebastien to obtain the banned substance to ease his father's suffering. Remy's lust for life has a profound effect on the young woman.THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS is a film to be viewed by everyone who'll one day die. Unfortunately, the majority of moviegoers will stay away, opting instead for the mindless bread-and-circus fare habitually doled out into the cinematic trough by the major studios. Shame!The last twenty or so minutes of the film, which are set at a lakeside cabin, contain some of the most poignant and emotionally powerful moments I've seen recently on the Big Screen. Lucky is the person who can say to those gathered around his/her deathbed:"Sharing with you this modest life has been a delight". Note: This film was seen at a pre-release screening sponsored by the distributor, Miramax."
The Decline and Fall of Quebecois Utopia
Francois Tremblay | Montreal, QC Canada | 10/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was rather surprising to learn that this anti-socialist movie won a Foreign Film Oscar. Denys Arcand is well-know for his biting satire of Québécois society, against the clergy in Jésus of Montréal and against Québécois politics in this movie. Invasions Barbares is a sequel to the famous Le Déclin de l'Empire Américan (The Decline of the American Empire), where he philosophizes on the end of the American hegemony based on history and some fast-and-dirty sociology.
In this movie, the Fall of the American Empire is represented by the WTC attack, but the bulk of the movie is not concerned with the United States but with Quebec. In this, Rémy (Rémy Girard), the history professor with a high libido, is dying of cancer and his previous relationships give him no solace. Everyone from Déclin comes back to support him in his hard times, including his estrangled son Sébastien (Stéphane Rousseau, a humourist who plays this serious role with great talent). He's become a resourceful and prosperous man of finance, and uses his money to bribe hospital officials to give his father his own floor, and dips his toe in the underworld to get heroin to alleviate his father's pain.
Rémy admits that his life has been rather pointless, and that the social utopia proposed by Québecois intellectuals has failed. This point is reinforced by the dingy and corrupt (but unfortunately realistic) portrayal of the health care system in Québec, and the failure of the War on Drugs. The movie is far from being all drama : a commentator noted that it was not as much about death as it was about life. He also calls his son Sébastien one of the barbarians invading utopia, a saviour of the state in which he (and Québec) has placed himself.
There is still a lot of talking in this movie, like in Déclin. Everyone is there to put their two cents in. But at least this time the discussion is not the only proeminent part of the movie, which makes it more of an interesting piece rather than a long tedium.
AMIDST IDEOLOGICAL CHITCHAT, A FULL-BODIED ODE TO LIFE
Shashank Tripathi | Gadabout | 10/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Barbarian Invasions is nothing if not a chatty movie, almost every character is well developed and most of what is said is amusing without the self-satisfied piety or strenuous jokiness of garden variety Hollywood flicks.
A man on his death bed, Remy, invites all his friends and family hoping in such a reunion to pass on his pearls of wisdom, and to reconcile all that has remained undone or that shouldn't have been done.
Woven around this seemingly simple frame are many relationships, all explored richly and with fluid rhythm, and some fabulous dialogue veering around insightful ideologies.
For instance, Remy and his son wage what seems to be a lifelong argument, the young man defending his free-market values, faith in technological progress and ascetic lifestyle, and Remy extolling the virtues of socialism and epicurean excess. I was surprised to see some footage of 9/11 in support for the negatives that accompany American-style capitalism.
The title of the film may derive from the bloody history of mankind and all the 'isms' that we've dabbled in (marxism, leninism, etc) -- all of which are talked about in a pseudo-intellectual but riveting manner among these friends -- but there is an unmistakable undercurrent of the ultimate barbaric invasion: time, which wastes us without answering the questions of our intellect and spirit. Remy concedes in anguish at one point, "I haven't found a meaning. I have to keep searching".
The mood is not always this despondent though, it shifts effortlessly between defiant exuberance and wistful contemplation without ever being mawkish. To an Asian like myself, the concept of having many women, all in presence of each other and not minding it, may be a bit too French, but perhaps the way we get introduced to our protagonist's many infatuations is so warm that it'd be difficult to think of it as anything other than totally sweet.
For all its urbanity and cultural contradictions of global capitalism, this marvelously humane film ultimately tugs at the core of what matters most to us and peppers it with some broad and devilishly funny chitchat. Couldn't recommend it highly enough, buy it! You'll be seeing it more than once."