Projections - Movie Reviews

The Barbarian Invasions
Barbarian Invasions
Starring Rémy Girard, Stephane Rousseau, Dorothee Berryman,
Louise Portal, Dominique Michel, Yves Jacques

Denys Arcand triumphed at the last Cannes' Film Festival with The Barbarian Invasions, and it was no fluke for the writer-director of Jesus of Montreal and The Decline of the American Empire.

The sharply textured screenplay, which won in France, centers around the terminal cancer afflicting Remy (Remy Girard), a lascivious academic in his fifties who is divorced. The family gets together from Remy's ex-wife heavily prodding their son, Sebastien (Stephane Rousseau), to fly back to Quebec. Sebastien has lost touch with his father and isn't the one who would be expected to return.

However, it doesn't take long for the kid to take his old man to a hospital that is right for his condition and somehow convocating former flames and chums. One ex-lover has an addicted daughter a very affecting Marie-Josee Croze, who obtains heroin for him to temporarily alleviate suffering. An earlier encounter between Sebastien and a narcotics officer to help his father also shows the intelligence that goes beyond the surface of a family's melancholic milieu.

Arcand goes beyond the traditions of this kind of film, which is about someone about to die. His patient lead proves to be quite adept, witty and bubbly. Just because many of the proceedings happen bedside doesn't mean director and cast can't make the happiness and ruefulness something that moves intelligently to the rhythms of the emotions touching all involved.

Burrowing beneath the contrasting rapports is social commentary and derision which may strike a nerve beyond Canada's citizens it will ultimately trigger some kind of release that is good, even when morbid.

The ability to get these performers reflects upon hard work for Arcand with Girard and Rousseau making their unique relationship full of life as The Barbarian Invasions stands with joy and ebullience in the face of death.

The Barbarian Invasions

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