Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: Le Declin de L’Empire Americain
Canada, 1986. Corporation Image M & M, Malofilm, National Film Board of Canada, Société Générale du Cinéma du Québec, Société Radio-Canada, Téléfilm Canada. Screenplay by Denys Arcand, collaboration with Gabriel Arcand, Mark Blandford, Jean-Claude Lauzon, Monique Proulx, Yvon Rivard, Catherine Ruelle, Louise Vandelac. Cinematography by Guy Dufaux. Produced by Roger Frappier, Rene Malo. Music by Francois Dompierre. Production Design by Gaudeline Sauriol. Costume Design by Denis Sperdouklis. Film Editing by Monique Fortier.
Four men prepare a dinner party and discuss women (or in one case, men), their bodies and the affairs they’ve enjoyed with them. Four women meet at a health spa and talk about pretty much the same thing from the opposite point of view, then later join the men at the party and the conversation becomes more complex. The interactions of these varied characters and their relationships with each other make for a wonderful, satisfying comedy of manners that was the perfect setup for the emotionally moving sequel. Terrific acting and pristine direction by Arcand led to Canada’s first Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign-Language Film (the subsequent two nominations for Canada were also directed by Arcand).
Academy Award Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film