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Les Invasions Barbares

Also known as The Barbarian Invasions
Also known as Invasion of the Barbarians
In French, with English subtitles (2003)

Remy: "You remember the proverb. Christmas in the scanner, Easter six feet under."

This is a beautiful, meaningful movie. I loved it.

Remy (Remy Girard), a former college professor, is dying. His wealthy son, Sebastien (Stephane Rousseau) decides he will do everything he can to make his father's remaining time on earth beautiful and meaningful, even if it requires subverting the national health care system and breaking the law.

You'd think a story this heavy would be depressing, but it isn't. It is moving, uplifting, life-affirming, and genuinely funny. As Remy spends his final days with his oldest friends, his former mistresses, and, in a touching subplot, a suicidal heroin addict, discussions inevitably revolve around the meaning of life. The "barbarian invasion" is a metaphor for the chaos that descends and takes things out of your control: like sickness, fear, war, the disintegration of society. Everything these characters talked about, and everything they did, just rang true for me, and the ending was tremendously touching.

However, this is not a movie to rent for Roy Dupuis content. He has a cameo role as a narcotics detective and is in only two brief scenes. But it's a wonderful movie, and I highly recommend it.

Four out of four stars,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

1 comment:

  1. Aw, heck with Roy ! Just kidding.

    Beautiful movie, but think in mind that you must/should ideally see "Le Déclin De l'Empire Américain" first, made by the same director. Because, here, we find the same characters a few years after.


    I'm so glad that you loved it Billie. If not already done, I strongly recommend the other movie as well. Made in '86, but still very influential today. I've seen it 3 or 4 times, and I have a different reaction every time I see it (well, I guess I AM evolving LOL). And I never get tired of re-re-re-watching again and again (of course, ditto with Jesus Of M.)

    One scene that I'll remember for a long time is the guy complaining at the hospital that the (my actual) cable company (and employer) will go bankrupt and he'll be lost....without cable TV... Eyes rolling ! (Working at the collection department of said company, I see on a daily basis that cutting TV for some people is indeed the end of the World. Eyes rolling !)

    I would also like to recommend (immensely) ANOTHER movie by the same director (aw, sorry, NO Roy Dupuis in this one) :


    When I commented previously about a cynical and cold shower view of the World that we live in , this other movie makes you ponder a lot and it is more....of a powerful slap to your face. Entertaining, yes, but thought provoking. And yes, we can have both in a movie. Oh, and add plenty of humour. Road rage ? A very real phenomenon unfortunately....

    And Diane Kruger speaking French ? Doesn't get cooler that this ! (and some scenes were filmed at the Olympic Stadium; now, a massive white elephant).


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