Les invasions barbares (2003) is a French,English movie. Denys Arcand has directed this movie. Rémy Girard,Dorothée Berryman,Stéphane Rousseau,Marie-Josée Croze are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2003. Les invasions barbares (2003) is considered one of the best Comedy,Crime,Drama,Mystery,Romance movie in India and around the world.
In this belated sequel to 'The Decline of the American Empire', 50-something Montreal college professor, Remy, learns that he is dying of liver cancer. He decides to make amends meet to his friends and family before he dies. He first tries to made peace with his ex-wife Louise, who asks their estranged son Sebastian, a successful businessman living in London, to come home. Sebastian makes the impossible happen, using his contacts and disrupting the entire Canadian system in every way possible to help his father fight his terminal illness to the bitter end, while he also tries to reunite his former friends, Pierre, Alain, Dominique, Diane, and Claude to see their old friend before he passes on.
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I have never been a fan of Canadian cinema because it was generally soaked with the sort of contrived politically correct sexual and social attitudes of which the conformist majority was already a proponent. Thus, Canadian films tended to be "pop-Canadian-culture" films about political correctness. Of course there were exceptions: Atom Egoyan's "Exotica" or "The Sweet Hereafter," or some of Cronenberg's more experimental films like "Naked Lunch" possessed some of that existential starkness that attracted me to those films. Nonetheless my expectations generally remained low, which is why Denys Arcand's great "Barbarian Invasions" was such a pleasant surprise. The film is about three things: the disillusionment with socialism, the growing disillusionment with capitalism, and the death of a man who happened to have been a socialist professor in Montreal, while his son a millionaire. Remy is dying of cancer. He is dying in a Montreal hospital, which in a five minute scene is established as the horror of socialist Canadian health care. Remy's ex-wife calls upon his estranged, well-off son, Sebastien to come visit and take care of his dying father. What follows is both a comic and a touching critique of the achievements of socialism. The film also suggests that the increasingly nihilist capitalism, or money, seems to be the only way to get around in this world. Money gets Remy out of an overcrowded ward, it gets him the most accurate medical tests and the "painkillers" he needs to survive. But "Barbarian Invasions" is critical of both systems: there is a beautiful scene where an auctioneer visits an old Montreal priest who takes her to the basement where he apparently has statuettes and chalices he wants to sell. The girl examines them and tells him that they would be of more value to the people at the church than on the world market. The priest remarks starkly: "In other words, they are worthless." Capitalism, consequently, is as anti-spiritual as socialism was. However, there are far more levels to "Barbarian Invasions" than mere politics. In fact, the film's goal is really to scream "Politics Aside!" so that we can make room for the man who is dying. Because Remy is not a quiet, subdued man. He is a lusty man a la Sabbath from Roth's "Sabbath's Theater" who loves life, women, wine and radical socialism. But now, that all those things are distant from him, he is forced to question his life, his relationships with his friends and his estranged children. What follows is a profound and touching elegy to the stupidities of youth, the mistakes in life, the regret and acceptance of old age - in other words of humanity. In the end, though Remy may be disillusioned with socialism, and definitely not all-too-happy with capitalism, facing death somehow robs politics of their significance. Not to say that politics aren't significant in life, because they pervade everything we do and see and so on, but bare, unadulterated life shines through for Remy. In the end, "Barbarian Invasions" is about death, and dying with dignity and how that dignity is achieved. While neither capitalism nor socialism offer it, it can be found at a more basic, human level. It's ironic, as a side-note, that this film came out roughly at the same time as Bertolucci's "The Dreamers," which is essentially a contemplation on the idealism and romanticism of French socialism and the "free love" culture of the 60s. I found Bertolucci's film much less profound than his greater ones - it used an affair between two siblings and an American closed off in an apartment for several days as a metaphor for the sixties. It ended rather tragically, but unrealistically - it tried to convince us that people got out from their cloistered "apartments" (read mentalities) and went to the streets to protest. What "Barbarian Invasions" tells us is that the protesters on the street were still really in that apartment, cloistered from reality.
There are many invading barbarians in this film. The reference to 9/11 is made explicit. Another example are the cancer cells that are destroying Remy's body. But there are many other more subtle examples. The general metaphor is this; we develop tidy definitions of who we are and who we are not. Life then deals us changes. Change is experienced as a violation(invasion) and the source of change feels foreign and evil(barbarians).How we are ultimately changed by these invasions defines who we are. Each character in the movie faces such an invasion. First and foremost is Remy. At the beginning of the movie he faces the worst of possible situations. He is terminally ill, has wasted a promising life, is alone and buried in the horrors of the Canadian health care system. He is then invaded by a legion of most of the important people from his life. By the end of the movie he is able to die peacefully, in a place of natural beauty, with the people he cares most about, at the time of his choosing, having achieved closure around everything which is capable of being closed. The final scene at the lake is one of the most extraordinary sequences that I've witnessed on film. But who are the the invaders and who is being invaded? By the end of the film we realized that this movie is as much about Sebastian and Nathalie, Remy's two unlikely guardian angels, who have been changed as deeply by the experience as Remy was.
I recently watched this film and was very impressed. The screenplay, acting and directing were all top-notch. It was at times funny, sad, tragic and thought-provoking. It touches on everything from drug-use, Canadian medicare, the child-father relationship and of course, past intimate relationships- not all they were cracked up to be! Denys Arcand is so very astute on all these fronts and wrote a fantastic screenplay for the wonderful cast of characters. It has to be one of my all-time favourite DVD's of 2004. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see a riveting, quality film made in Canada. It deserved the Oscar!
I rented this movie last weekend. Not having heard anything about it, I was prepared for a middling effort and some mild entertainment. I have to say that I was happily surprised by the quality of this film. It is a very moving piece. It touched upon so many facets of every day life - love, death, sex, fidelity, family, ambition, religion, loyalty, forgiveness, and redemption. It was handled in an understated way that allows the audience to think about the themes introduced without hitting them over the head with a message. The cast was really terrific, too. I would definitely recommend this for an indie-foreign film aficionado.
There seems to be a lot of passion over the claim that the film is anti-American, anti-capitalist, etc. Many criticisms seem to dismiss the humanistic elements in this film - pain, death, reconciliation - because it has a vague intellectual, leftist, socialist face. My experiences in Canada tend to suggest that the Canadians have plenty of targets down south that deserve criticism. But does it matter? Whether the film included all these elements, the key theme was the preparation for death and reconciliation between those who will not see each other again. Doesn't anybody cry over loss? Are we scared of those things after death? or do we fear the process of dying - the loss of the person, their presence? A person died in this film - right before us - 100 minutes of decline -and what a sigh of relief that there was reconciliation in the end! That there was time to speak, time to be present. Consider the contrast between the daughter on the yacht - stranded, distant - and the son near his father. The great pain that welled up in me to see that there was no opportunity for her left. I don't cry in films, but I did here. I feared dying more than ever - other people's deaths, and mine - and I resolved to prepare for it.