The Barbarian Invasions
Details: (MA15+), 99 mins, Canada, English
Synopsis: Rémy (Rémy Girard) is a skirt-chasing history professor battling terminal cancer. Rémy and his son, Sébastien (Stéphane Rousseau), are estranged, but ultimately it's Sébastien who gives his father the grand send-off – by setting him up in a cottage and preparing him for several invasions, including his ex-wife and two mistresses. Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, 2004.
Rémy (Rémy Girard), a former professor of history, is terminally ill with cancer. Louise (Dorothee Berryman), his ex-wife, summons their two children, who are both far from home. Their daughter is on a boat in the Pacific, while their yuppie son Sébastien (Stéphane Rousseau), is a successful futures trader in London.
Rémy, who always espoused socialist views, hasn't been on good terms with his Establishment son for many years, but, despite that, Sébastien flies to Montreal with his French fiancee, and, by means of bribery, succeeds in extricating his father from the appallingly crowded conditions of a public hospital. Rémy's oldest friends, and some ex-lovers, gather together to be with him in his time of need.
The joy of this magnificent film is that it is rooted in absolute reality. These are real, flesh-and-blood, flawed human beings, totally recognisable people. Their youthful ideals may be wearing a bit thin, they may be disappointed by the lack of ideals of the next generation, they have to cope with under-funded health services, with the domination of the United States, with the threat of terrorism, the economy, declining standards of education – and with the prospect of death. Wonderfully wise and witty, and tremendously moving, this Oscar-winner is a major achievement in every respect.
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