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The Decline of the American Empire
The Decline of the American Empire
Actors: Dominique Michel, Dorothée Berryman, Louise Portal, Pierre Curzi, Rémy Girard
Director: Denys Arcand
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
R     2004     1hr 41min

You've never seen a sex comedy quite like The Decline of the American Empire. That's because there's no sex in this comedy--just a lot of entertaining talk about it (and a few discreet flashbacks). The speakers are eight M...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Dominique Michel, Dorothée Berryman, Louise Portal, Pierre Curzi, Rémy Girard
Director: Denys Arcand
Creators: Guy Dufaux, Denys Arcand, Monique Fortier, Pierre Gendron, René Malo, Roger Frappier
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/05/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 41min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 13
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

An enjoyable watch, though not as good as its sequel.
Ranajoy Raychaudhuri | Washington, DC | 10/31/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I guess like a lot of other viewers, I hadn't watched "The Decline of the American Empire" until after I had watched its sequel. Four men and four women get together in a house by the lakeside in Quebec and what follows will keep you engrossed till the end. Director Denys Arcand has the characters play out how they would spend a normal holiday, but "normal" for them has a slightly different meaning than for us ordinary folks.

There's a much younger Remy, the professor at the University of Laval, womanizer par excellence, alongside his (comparatively) straightlaced wife Louise. Pierre, the host, is seeing Danielle, a history student at the university, who was his masseur at a parlor where he is a regular. Their gay friend Claude lives alone because of his compulsive urges to cruise. Then there's the naive and innocent Alain, both Remy and Pierre's ex-mistress Dominique and finally Diane, who's in a BDSM relationship with a guy who scoffs at Claude's Russian trout dish, wine and pilsner but still turns him on as he resembles one of his ex-lovers. The movie follows their conversations over the course of the day, the night and the next morning, interspersed with flashbacks. As Louise says to the BDSM guy, intellectuals love to talk ... and boy, do they talk! Constantly trading barbs, reeling off historical accounts, offering informed opinions on issues (though not as engaging as those in the sequel) and above all, discussing their sex lives (which are nothing short of spectacular) ... the interchanges won't feel dull for a moment. Remy, as usual, is utterly lovable in his depravity.

On a personal note, I like "The Barbarian Invasions" better as I feel that Arcand has refined his style even more over the years so that he is at his peak by this time, but nevertheless this is an enjoyable (if a bit uneven) watch ... not to mention the deja vu that fills you the entire time as you recognize the characters and relate to them as scenes from the other movie come back to you."
A pithy, straight to the heart view of people and humanity.
Bomojaz | 04/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"One of the warmest, coolest and most bracing films I have seen. I cried with laughter and sadness and realisition at a film that is refreshingly bold about human weakness and strengths. Very funny, stirring, sad...true. SEE THIS FILM."
Misleading title
F.M.Brewster | ORINDA, CA USA | 02/21/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Oswld Spengler wrote "The Decline of the West" before world War I and the title of this movie suggests a parallel cultural history or documemtary of the present.Far from it . A very frank sexual discussion ,among men, casually mentions that female dominance is a characteric of the decline of a civilization. The female viewpoint is equally well formulated and expounded in an interview.The subtitles lack the elegance of the French- Quebecois,20 years have passed and the subject has lost nothing of his luster. I loved it."
Let's talk about sex
Bomojaz | South Central PA, USA | 03/13/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Four middle-aged successful couples examine the sexual revolution. The men all meet and talk (they are preparing a dinner), and the women all meet, too (in a gym). The movie is almost all talk as each person reveals his or her own story and feelings. They then all meet and talk some more, and some illusions are destroyed via certain betrayals. It's rare to see such a sophisticated film, though it's very stagey and not very dramatic. (At one point a man, not part of the group, says, "All they do is talk about sex and then sit down to a fish dinner.") An interesting picture, though, for the most part. In French."