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The Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions Barbares) (2004)

Dorothee Berryman , Isabelle Blais  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dorothee Berryman, Isabelle Blais, Markita Boies, Denis Bouchard, Toni Cecchinato
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: July 13, 2004
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001XAPWE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,235 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions Barbares)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Inside The Barbarian Invasions

Editorial Reviews

Academy Award(R) winner for Best Foreign Language Film in 2003, THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS is a provocative look at the many ties that bind a group of friends and lovers. It's not easy for a narrow-minded professor (Rémy Girard) to reconcile with his equally stubborn son. But soon, father and son find themselves gathering with their wide and colorful circle of family and friends to confront their differences, confess their secrets, and celebrate life! Winner of the Best Actress (Marie-Josée Croze) and Best Screenplay awards at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival -- critics everywhere hailed this outstanding motion picture as one of the year's best!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
86 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death of a bon vivant September 20, 2003
Infrequently, if at all, does a film for general release revolve around normal, natural death, i.e. one not brought on by fanged space aliens, world-renting cataclysms, wild gunfights, or some other Tinseltown special FX. Hollywood script writers should walk though any cemetery sometime. Not since the 2001 tour de force, WIT, starring Emma Thompson, has the topic been intelligently portrayed. Now comes THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS, a powerful French Canadian film of albeit misleading title.
London investor Sebastien (Stephane Rousseau) is summoned home to Quebec by his mother, Louise (Dorothee Berryman) to attend the approaching death of his father, Remy (Remy Girard). Father and son have been long estranged - ever since Remy and Louise divorced. Remy, an outspoken Professor of History and a self-described "sensuous socialist", has spent his life indulging in wine, women, song, and learned conversation. Especially women. The reunion shows little promise of succeeding, especially after a stormy shouting match in Remy's bleak hospital room that leaves the audience facetiously asking, "That went well, don't you think?" But, after Louise reminds her son of a paternal love long forgotten, then filial duty and guilt compel Sebastien to use his considerable wealth to arrange an easier transition for Old Dad by improving the conditions of his hospitalization, and to gather around his treasured friends, colleagues, and mistresses.
The "star" is Remy, who, at the end of his life, contemplates and comes to accept the final sum of it. This exercise would be thought-provoking enough in itself, but writer/director Denys Arcand also interweaves into the plot such prickly subjects as socialized medicine, euthanasia, and the use of illegal drugs to ease terminal medical conditions.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Decline and Fall of Quebecois Utopia October 15, 2004
Format:DVD
It was rather surprising to learn that this anti-socialist movie won a Foreign Film Oscar. Denys Arcand is well-know for his biting satire of Québécois society, against the clergy in Jésus of Montréal and against Québécois politics in this movie. Invasions Barbares is a sequel to the famous Le Déclin de l'Empire Américan (The Decline of the American Empire), where he philosophizes on the end of the American hegemony based on history and some fast-and-dirty sociology.

In this movie, the Fall of the American Empire is represented by the WTC attack, but the bulk of the movie is not concerned with the United States but with Quebec. In this, Rémy (Rémy Girard), the history professor with a high libido, is dying of cancer and his previous relationships give him no solace. Everyone from Déclin comes back to support him in his hard times, including his estrangled son Sébastien (Stéphane Rousseau, a humourist who plays this serious role with great talent). He's become a resourceful and prosperous man of finance, and uses his money to bribe hospital officials to give his father his own floor, and dips his toe in the underworld to get heroin to alleviate his father's pain.

Rémy admits that his life has been rather pointless, and that the social utopia proposed by Québecois intellectuals has failed. This point is reinforced by the dingy and corrupt (but unfortunately realistic) portrayal of the health care system in Québec, and the failure of the War on Drugs. The movie is far from being all drama : a commentator noted that it was not as much about death as it was about life.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMIDST IDEOLOGICAL CHITCHAT, A FULL-BODIED ODE TO LIFE October 17, 2004
Format:DVD
The Barbarian Invasions is nothing if not a chatty movie, almost every character is well developed and most of what is said is amusing without the self-satisfied piety or strenuous jokiness of garden variety Hollywood flicks.

A man on his death bed, Remy, invites all his friends and family hoping in such a reunion to pass on his pearls of wisdom, and to reconcile all that has remained undone or that shouldn't have been done.

Woven around this seemingly simple frame are many relationships, all explored richly and with fluid rhythm, and some fabulous dialogue veering around insightful ideologies.

For instance, Remy and his son wage what seems to be a lifelong argument, the young man defending his free-market values, faith in technological progress and ascetic lifestyle, and Remy extolling the virtues of socialism and epicurean excess. I was surprised to see some footage of 9/11 in support for the negatives that accompany American-style capitalism.

The title of the film may derive from the bloody history of mankind and all the 'isms' that we've dabbled in (marxism, leninism, etc) -- all of which are talked about in a pseudo-intellectual but riveting manner among these friends -- but there is an unmistakable undercurrent of the ultimate barbaric invasion: time, which wastes us without answering the questions of our intellect and spirit. Remy concedes in anguish at one point, "I haven't found a meaning. I have to keep searching".

The mood is not always this despondent though, it shifts effortlessly between defiant exuberance and wistful contemplation without ever being mawkish.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this movie
Explores life and end of life choices... I really enjoyed this movie. It's uplifting without being preachy.
Published 15 days ago by Larry Pylar
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest and warm.
a fantastic movie - honest, funny at times and has great integrity. Totally recommend. especially liked the choice not to repeat boring predictable plot lines. Read more
Published 1 month ago by coeli
5.0 out of 5 stars Advanced knowledge of French language spoken in Quebec is a must as to...
A pure chef d'oeuvre. Advanced knowledge of French language spoken in Quebec is a must as to fully enjoy this Academy Award and Cesar (Cannes Film Festival) winning movie.
Published 2 months ago by Healthcare
1.0 out of 5 stars in a foreign language and was not represented that way!
once again these Amazon conned me into purchasing a movie in a different language that was not identified as such and I would have to read all the words at the bottom which I'm not... Read more
Published 4 months ago by JMG
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, perceptive fantasy about a good death
This Canadian classic shows, among many other things, how it is possible -- though extremely difficult and expensive -- to provide someone with a peaceful and loving death.
Published 4 months ago by Faye Girsh
5.0 out of 5 stars Well made with plenty of humanity
Nothing pretentious about life or death, the film shows both the way many may see both in a small family and their close circle of friends. Read more
Published 8 months ago by SERGIO RESTREPO
5.0 out of 5 stars The Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions Barbares)
A fine film about life, death, living, lovers, good friends, and food. And the use of heroin to ease suffering ..
Published 8 months ago by Jinglebts
4.0 out of 5 stars How to fix our ailing medical system - if you have money!
Only the Canadian francophone film industry can put together a film such as this. If you are looking for an evening's of a good laugh with a message, this is the film for you!
Published 9 months ago by Michael Fairweather
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff!
I think it is a great film - civilized and intelligent conversation! I saw if first on TV and had to buy it!
Published 10 months ago by Alan Kierkut
5.0 out of 5 stars Liked it
I liked the film. Watched it as part of a course on psychoanalysis and I thought it was very entertaining. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jackie Treehorn
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