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January 01, 2009

The Barbarian Invasions

Barbarian_invasions French Canadian director Denys Arcand’s Oscar-winning follow-up to his breakthrough 1987 movie “The Decline of the American Empire” follows the same group of Canadian characters in Montreal 17-years later. Remy (Remy Gerard), a previously hedonistic history professor, lies in a hospital bed dying from cancer as his estranged son Sebastien (Stephane Rousseau) swallows his pride to make his father’s last few weeks as bearable as possible. Arcand views the group’s waning leftist ideals through a prism of social realities of terrorism, drug use, and such fallible constructs as Canada’s health care system. Remy’s old friends gather around to put their lives into perspective with humor and intelligence that informs Remy’s passing with a knowing acceptance of the optimism in death. “The Barbarian Invasions” is an intriguing meditation on the inevitable fall of ideologies under the pressure of nature’s laws. 
Rated R. 112 mins. (B) (Three Stars)

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