Interview: Machine Man
Unions: Testing Times
Bad Boss: Freespirit Haunts Internet
Unions: Badge of Honour
National Focus: Noel's World
Economics: Safe Refuge
International: Global Abuse
History: The Honeypot
Review: Death And The Barbarians
Poetry: Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
The Mouse That Roars
Justice For Victims Denied
Death And The Barbarians
Denys Arcand's Barbarian Invasions looks back on the life of dying cancer patient Rémy with a lot of help from his family, friends, ex-wife, mistresses, a union rep, a dedicated nurse, a local police officer, a junkie and her drug dealer.
Reluctantly relying on the abundant goodwill and amble fortunes of his least favourite child Sébastien, Rémy passionately clings to his socialist beliefs and prejudices even as his son displays many attributes not typically associated with right wing professionals.
How can Rémy communicate with this boy who has "never read a book" and what would they talk about anyway? While Rémy ponders this question Sébastien is on an adventure of his own, seeing how much comfort money can buy for a dying man among millions in a public health system he can only describe as inhumane.
But Rémy is adamant his principles will not be compromised in life or in death. He has spent a lifetime supporting the public health system and he will rely upon it now if it kills him - even sooner.
Yet money does travel far and Rémy soon finds himself in first class accommodation in an unused floor of the hospital. Encouraged by this success, Sébastien then gets about scoring some smack with the help of a family friend's junkie daughter.
That he first approaches the police to meet this end beautifully illustrates the way Sébastien innocently and trustingly wraps himself in the protective shield of monetary wealth in a similar way that his father blinkers himself behind his political ideologies.
These are passionately expressed. The time is nigh for looking back and lending perspective to Rémy's life and the historical context in which he lived.
This is not so much a film of firsts but a film of lasts - yes, it is the last time Rémy will see the water, the sunset and the mortal faces of those he loves but it is also his last chance to decide what prejudices and grudges are worth holding onto and which keep him from truly being with those in his life.
It is also time for Rémy to ask what is worth laying aside to give him and Sébastien their last chance to connect.
What belief systems we wrap ourselves in, how they can be used to keep the world out, the contexts we use to compartmentalise the infinite, and most importantly - who we fail to know as a result are the among subplots of this film. And that it handles these with ample references to sex, drugs, politics, and death without the violence, sets it ahead in the entertainment stakes.
The plentiful script which must be read via subtitles for the non French speaking means concentration is needed throughout the length film, even where it does at times plod along. This makes it not a good choice for late evening viewing - with the possible exception of insomniacs.
But for other times this flick is a fine offering from the Jesus of Montréal director who has again managed to produce something of lasting historical worth.
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