Les Invasions Barbares (2003)

This beautiful film from Québec covers a lot of ground, hot topic-wise, while at the same time getting you very attached to the characters. The acting is superb and the writing spectacular. Denys Arcand, director and writer, won the academy award for best foreign language film for this.

Some of the topics discussed are public health care, drug dependency, unions, euthanasia, genocide, adultery, Canada-US relations, father-son relations, Catholicism and Religion, government spending, homosexuality, philosophy, God (quietly), divorce, globalization, and most dominantly death. What is tremendous about this is that the characters don't lecture you about what the "right" position, but rather they live out their choices - good or bad.

I saw the precursor to this film, the 1980's Decline of the American Empire, when I was in university. It involves the same characters, professors of history, in the middle of their sexual trysts while on a weekend getaway at a cottage. I was moved then and I am moved now by the power of relationships. The vibrant life of Montreal that I enjoyed so much when I lived there is colourfully depicted (much more colourfully than i lived it!) and you can almost see eyes twinkle as they gush over wine, past affairs, and books they've read. Then you see those same eyes brimming with tears as consequences of their actions become apparent.

New territory. That is what this film is talking about. The frontiers these characters delve into are completely unknown. Their agrarian ancestors would not have had the opportunity in Québec.


No comments: