Director Denys Arcand revisits the situations and relationships that informed his international breakthrough The Decline of the American Empire with this dialogue-driven character study. Set 17 years after Decline, The Barbarian Invasions, like its predecessor, examines the varying politics -- economic, personal, and sexual -- at play among an aging group of friends, lovers, and ex-spouses. This time around, leads Remy (Rémy Girard) and Louise (Dorothee Berryman) are divorced, with their son Sebastien (Stéphane Rousseau) living in capitalist splendor in London. But the slightly estranged family is brought together by Remy's losing battle with terminal cancer, and the hedonistic, ex-radical father and straight-laced son have to overcome their differences. Along the way, Remy waxes nostalgic with many of the same pals who made up the dinner party of the first film.
Side #1 -- 1. Mother's Calling [:28] 2. Burlington [7:57] 3. Setting Up the Room [5:52] 4. Barbarian Invasions [6:39] 5. Reunion [5:47] 6. Riding the Dragon [9:15] 7. Women of Fantasies [7:26] 8. Father and Son [4:34] 9. Reflecting on Life [5:17] 10. Looking for Nathalie [13:09] 11. The Cottage [6:34] 12. The Last Supper [3:38] 13. The Goodbye [1:59] 14. Credits [4:50]
Side #1 -- Play Movie Scene Selection Set Up French Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital French Audio: 2.0 Dolby Surround Captions & Subtitles: English Subtitles Captions & Subtitles: English Closed Captions Captions & Subtitles: None Inside The Barbarian Invasions Sneak Peeks Play All Paper Clips The Human Stain 25 Miramax Anniversary People I Know Shall We Dance?
The Barbarian Invasions 4.3 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS is a miracle movie. As conceived and directed by Denys Arcand this film is a brilliantly entertaining story, full of hilarious dialogue and situations, full of intellectual stimulation, brilliant metaphors and similes, full of probing philosophy, while standing as the finest examination of our society as it stands at the moment. The beauty of the film is that for all of the intellectual wealth it contains, it never bogs down with cerebral weightiness. The mood is consistently entertaining: the infinite messages contained are left as after burn. Remy (and indelible characterization by Remy Girard) has lived a life of sexual freedom, intellectual pursuits (he is a Professor of History and defender of free thinking), and seems to have placed his family and wife in the periphery. Suddenly faced with a diagnosis of a rampantly aggressive and untreatable cancer, he rages against the world that no longer holds his tenets of civilization dear: he faces death having no legacy to leave the world he entered. His ex-wife notifies his worldly and wealthy Baby-Boomer generation son in his important office in London to return home, despite the fact that the son sees little point in rushing to the deathbed of a father who was never a father to him. The son Sebastien (in a sophisticated, engrossing performance by Stephane Rousseau) flies to Montreal and, in his manner of control, takes over, planning the exodus of this 'shameful father' in a manner that allows him to provide the best amenities while putting more emotional distance from his father. Money talks, and after Sebastien drives him to the USA for the best of scans and opinions only to hear that Remy will not follow-up by entering a US Medical Center, Remy is moved to a deserted floor of the hospital (grandly redecorated and staffed by Sebastien's conniving way with money bribes). Sebastien gathers the wildest assortment of Remy's friends, mistresses, and political/intellectual oddballs and gives Remy everything he could ask for - even satellite conversation with Remy's yachting-on-the-seas daughter. When the disease advances and terminal pain encroaches, Sebastien even arranges for heroin by coercing the addicted daughter of one of Remy's mistresses to supply the need. When it is clear that death is imminent, Sebastien arranges for the entire entourage to move to a beautiful house by a lake outside Montreal and there the group eats, drinks, philosophizes, entertains, and ultimately says goodbye to their old friend. At this point Sebastien and Remy are alone with their personal histories and disappointments and regrets and it is the playing out of how this is resolved that is the utter magic of this magnificent film. Though the ending of the film is implied from the outset, to spoil the final moments by revealing the actual moments of the story would be a disservice to the viewer An added attraction on the DVD (in French and English with subtitles) is a filmed dinner with the entire cast (and to a person, this is a cast of gifted, virtuosic actors), discussing the movies, their characters, and more importantly looking at the Montreal that was the dream of the future when all of these actors were young and idealistic and now faces a stagnation and void that each sees as a threat to the future. These are articulate actors and their words and thoughts are intensely sensitive and informative. This added feature adds yet more depth in accompaniment to the film. THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS is a film to purchase for your private collection, a film to return to often as a reminder that living our lives as individual sanctities is the only way we will be able to maintain 'civilization' in this era of instant gratification and disregard for the past. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ON EVERY LEVEL!
More than 1 year ago
The most skilful attribute of “The Barbarian Invasions” is the clever way in which the film intertwines a personal story with our collective history. I don't remember another recent film that has managed to move and making me feel involved as much, and in both respects. The film is incredibly accurate in capturing a "moment", an undercurrent difficult to articulate and to put in words, of what it is happening in our world today. It does this with remarkable restrain and in small measures in the delivery of details, giving us few but quite powerful facts. The film centers on Rémy's estranged relationship with his son Sebastian (stand-up comic Stéphane Rousseau) a millionaire London businessman. When Sebastian comes to Montreal with his fiancée (Marina Hands), years of resentment against his father boil to the surface. Rémy apparently was not an exemplary father figure. He cheated on his wife, over indulged himself in hedonistic pleasures, and offered less than the support his children needed. Rémy, a socialist, considers his son a "puritanical capitalist" and one who portends the coming "barbarian" invasions. Sebastian resents Rémy for his womanizing and calls him "contentious". In spite of this resentment, however, he starts throwing money around to try and make his father's final days more comfortable, in a way subtly letting his father know that money can buy anything. “The Barbarian Invasions” is not a perfect film by any means but is one of the strongest Canadian films. Though some of the dialogue is strained, underneath there is a humanity that allows us to connect with our feelings about our own mortality and our relationships with those we care about. It is often hard to reconcile the robustly alive Rémy with our pictures of a man dying of cancer but Girard is powerfully effective in the role and I went from quiet distaste of his amorality to full acceptance of who he is by the end of the film. Though the conclusion is emotional, it is not trite or overly sentimental but allows us to access the deep place of silence within ourselves and embrace the mystery. This film is great. But you may have to be in the right mood for it. There are a lot of interesting, thought provoking lines in the movie and it makes you think about how you feel, stand and react to the issues at stake. I laughed, I cried and I felt very appeased after seeing it. It is exactly the kind of movie one can ponder for a long time.