Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: Les Invasions Barbares
Canada/France, 2003. Pyramide Productions, Cinémaginaire Inc., Astral Films, Canal+, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Production Barbares Inc., Société Radio-Canada, Société de Développement des Entreprises Culturelles, The Harold Greenberg Fund, Téléfilm Canada. Screenplay by Denys Arcand. Cinematography by Guy Dufaux. Produced by Daniel Louis, Denise Robert. Music by Pierre Aviat. Production Design by Francois Seguin. Costume Design by Denis Sperdouklis. Film Editing by Isabelle Dedieu.
Almost twenty years after the release of his successful Decline of the American Empire, Quebec filmmaker Denys Arcand has returned with this excellent reunion of the main cast of characters, all of whom are just as opinionated, passionate and amiable as they were the first time around. The regrouping is motivated by one member of the group (Rémy Girard) being terminally ill, resulting in the ailing patient’s son (an excellent Stéphane Rousseau) bringing all of his father’s friends from around the world to be with him in his last hours. As in Decline, the characters engage in conversations that recall current events in French Canada, but those unfamiliar with many of the political references they make will still get much out of it. The film is a touching and beautifully layered portrait of lifelong friendship and vitality, one whose characters never acquiesce in their ambitions even as they move on towards the latter half of their lives. Performances are exceptional all around, with notable roles coming from Girard as the patient and Marie-Josée Croze as a heroin addict who helps him through his more painful moments.
Academy Award: Best Foreign Language Film
Nominations: Best Original Screenplay
Cannes Film Festival Awards: Best Actress (Marie-Josee Croze); Best Screenplay
European Film Award: Screen International Award
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film
Toronto International Film Festival: 2003