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The Barbarian Invasions-Movie Review 02/10/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, Cannes Film Festival, César Awards, Comedy, David di Donatello Awards, Emotional Drama, French (Canadian) language film, Golden Globes, Movies.

The Barbarian Invasions (French-Canadian) 2003
Les invasions barbares

Among many other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Foreign Language Film (Arcand); NOMINATED, Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Arcand), Academy Awards
WINNER, Best Actress (Croze); Best Screenplay (Arcand), NOMINATED, Palme D’Or (Arcand), Cannes Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Language Film, Golden Globes
WINNER, Best Director, Best Film, Best Writing (Arcand), NOMINATED, Most Promising Actress (Croze), César Awards
WINNER, David Award-Best Foreign Film (Arcand), David Di Donatello Awards

Written and directed by Denys Arcand
Starring Rémy Girard, Dorothée Berryman, Stéphane Rousseau, and Marie-Josée Croze

One of those unassuming French films that sneaks up on you with humor and sentimentality and develops into a solid story that is both charming and touching. Rémy Girard stars as Rémy, a middle-aged man facing illness and the end of his life with the help of friends and his formerly estranged family. It soon becomes apparent that Rémy’s friends and family members hold very different perceptions of him.

Although the premise sounds depressing, and serious issues are certainly presented, there is much entertainingly clever and funny dialogue as well. However, one scene reminded me of the “what sentence does not belong in this paragraph” questions in Language Arts tests. Let me know if you have the same reaction and to what scene.

This film is the sequel to 1986’s The Decline of the American Empire, which follows the trials and tribulations of Rémy and the same group of friends at much younger ages. I watched that after seeing The Barbarian Invasions (a post about the earlier film will follow soon); watching the two in that order didn’t detract from either one. I thoroughly enjoyed both movies.

99 min. Rated R. Adult themes.



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