The Barbarian Invasions


1h 51m 2003

Brief Synopsis

A revisiting, some 15 years later, of the principal characters of Denys Arcand's 1986 comedy drama film, "The Decline of the American Empire." Rémy, now divorced and in his early fifties, is hospitalized. His ex-wife, Louise, asks their son Sébastien to come home from London where he now lives. Séb

Film Details

Also Known As
Barbarian Invasion, Barbarian Invasions, Cruel Invasions, Invasion, Invasion der Barbaren, Invasion of the Barbarians, The, Invasions barbares, Las iGuca!nvasiones bárbaras, Las invasiones bárbaras, Les Invasions barbares, barbariska invasionerna, iGuca!nvasiones bárbaras, invasiones bárbaras
MPAA Rating
Release Date
2003
Production Company
Canal Plus; Pyramide Films; Pyramide Films; StudioCanal; TTlTfilm Canada; U.K. Film Council
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE ATLANTIS VIVAFILM/MIRAMAX; 20th Century Fox International; Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm; Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm; Bim Distribuzione; Curzon Artificial Eye; Distribution Company; Edko Films; Entertainment One; Entertainment One Films Australia Pty, Ltd.; Filmcoopi Zurich Ag; Filmladen Gmbh; Golden Village; Golem Distribution; Gussi Films; Les Films De L'Elysee; MIRAMAX; Miramax Home Entertainment; Norsk Filmdistribusjon; Paradiso Entertainment; Prokino Filmverleih Gmbh; Pyramide Distribution; Pyramide Films; Sam Film; Sandrew Metronome Distribution Sverige Ab (Sweden); Sandrew Metronome Filmdistribution As; Shapira Films; Ster-Kinekor

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m

Synopsis

A revisiting, some 15 years later, of the principal characters of Denys Arcand's 1986 comedy drama film, "The Decline of the American Empire." Rémy, now divorced and in his early fifties, is hospitalized. His ex-wife, Louise, asks their son Sébastien to come home from London where he now lives. Sébastien hesitates; he and his father haven't had much to say to one another for years now. He relents, however, and flies to Montreal to help his mother and support his father. As soon as he arrives, Sébastien moves heaven and earth, brings his contacts into play and disrupts the system in every way possible to ease the ordeal that awaits Rémy. Around his father's bedside, Sébastien also reunites the merry band of folk who were all players in Rémy's complicated past: relatives, friends and former mistresses.

Film Details

Also Known As
Barbarian Invasion, Barbarian Invasions, Cruel Invasions, Invasion, Invasion der Barbaren, Invasion of the Barbarians, The, Invasions barbares, Las iGuca!nvasiones bárbaras, Las invasiones bárbaras, Les Invasions barbares, barbariska invasionerna, iGuca!nvasiones bárbaras, invasiones bárbaras
MPAA Rating
Release Date
2003
Production Company
Canal Plus; Pyramide Films; Pyramide Films; StudioCanal; TTlTfilm Canada; U.K. Film Council
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE ATLANTIS VIVAFILM/MIRAMAX; 20th Century Fox International; Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm; Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm; Bim Distribuzione; Curzon Artificial Eye; Distribution Company; Edko Films; Entertainment One; Entertainment One Films Australia Pty, Ltd.; Filmcoopi Zurich Ag; Filmladen Gmbh; Golden Village; Golem Distribution; Gussi Films; Les Films De L'Elysee; MIRAMAX; Miramax Home Entertainment; Norsk Filmdistribusjon; Paradiso Entertainment; Prokino Filmverleih Gmbh; Pyramide Distribution; Pyramide Films; Sam Film; Sandrew Metronome Distribution Sverige Ab (Sweden); Sandrew Metronome Filmdistribution As; Shapira Films; Ster-Kinekor

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 51m

Award Wins

Best Foreign Language Film

2003

Award Nominations

Best Original Screenplay

2003

Articles

Interview with Remy Girard of The Barbarian Invasions


Miramax is releasing The Barbarian Invasions this month. It is a French-Canadian drama from director Denys Arcand (Jesus of Montreal), and stars Remy Girard (Les Boys).

Because so few films from Quebec get released in the U.S., most American moviegoers won't realize that Invasions reunites the characters and cast of another Arcand film, The Decline of the American Empire (1986).

"We do export [film], but it's not the same thing," says Girard over tea in Denver. "In English Canada, [they] mostly consume American products. It's easy because it's the same language. If you want to be a star in Canada you must come to the United States."

But Girard says that French-speaking Quebec is different. "We are interested first by what we are doing, and after this we are going to see what happens outside. We consume our culture before. You say it's a language barrier? Nah, it's a mentality, it's not a language barrier. We have cable. We watch American TV. We watch American movies. It's not only a question of language barrier it's an attitude. Quebecers consume their culture first."

"Our three blockbusters last summer were, for the first time, three Quebec productions, ahead of American productions."

The rise of Quebec's entertainment empire started at least 17 years ago. In 1986, Denys Arcand directed The Decline of the American Empire, an adult gathering-of-friends movie similar to The Big Chill. Four men prepare dinner at a house on the lake and talk about their sexual conquests. Meanwhile, four women work out at the gym and talk about their sexual experiences. Later that evening, all eight -- authors, professors, and intellectuals -- sit around the dining room table and talk about sex (although in a markedly different way than the same-sex groups had earlier.)

The film took its title from a book one of the characters had written. Her thesis was that when a civilization started valuing individual enjoyment over personal duty, that civilization started its downfall. Furthermore, (in 1986) North America was on the brink of decline.

Fast-forward 17 years. The empire continues its decline, and the barbarians are invading. A shot of the second jet crashing into the twin towers is shocking "evidence" that the barbarians are aiming for the heart of North America. But the metaphor works better on a more personal level. Remy's son has moved to England to work in finance. He returns to visit his dying father, and the resulting clash of generations is a more apt explanation for the film's title.

Remy (played by Remy Girard) is an old intellectual who wishes his son had read "a single book, any book" growing up. But Sebastien (Stephane Rousseau) has led his own life and does not apologize for it. He's a financial wiz raised on computers. When he unwinds, it is in a video arcade, not in an armchair. Although the two don't see eye to eye, they find a way to love and appreciate each other without asking each other to change.

Finding the same character after 17 years is an interesting challenge for any actor. Girard says it was more challenging than he might have thought, particularly since he didn't get to write the character.

"[It was] easy to retrieve his sense of humor, his cynicism, the way he delivers. That was quite easy. I was checking the first movie to remember the way he moves, but in the second, geez, I was in bed, so it doesn't help me any more."

"But yes, the most difficult part was that he was dying, he was really sick, and was not so happy as I would expect he has to be. I always thought that he was gonna make it because he had this insatiable lust for living. I also thought that, for this kind of guy, the search for happiness was quite easy. That was not the fact when I read the second script."

Another actor might have spoken to writer/director Arcand to suggest some changes to reflect their own view of the character, but Girard didn't. "I accepted it. I was surprised, but I was challenged. The challenge was how to make this character, who has such an insatiable lust for living, make him dying and maybe make him accept it."

It's not like anyone had 17 years to think about it, either. After Decline, the director and cast went their separate ways. They worked together in twos and threes -- after all, Quebec's TV and film production community is tight-knit. But nobody knew there was a "sequel" in the works.

"It was a surprise for everybody," says Girard, "even with Denys. I know he was writing on death -- what happens with death, what happens with euthanasia -- and threw away these scripts during a lot of years because he always told me 'it's sad, it's pathetic, it's deep, it's melodramatic, it's uninteresting talking about death.' Then he had the flash. 'I could reunite this gang again and make Remy dying.'"

Indeed, although the whole cast of Decline appears in Invasions, the second film focuses on Remy, whereas the first film was more of an ensemble. Girard says that was the right choice, given that Arcand was writing about death.

"It makes sense to me that [Remy] was the one who has to die because he was the most living... lover of them all. Dramatically it's intelligent to make him die. I think facing death you have a great consciousness of futility. And I think it's hard to take when you have to make the last trip."

"When it arrives for me I would like to say 'okay, I have done what I had to; maybe not all I had to do, but I have done a hell of a good part.'"

by Marty Mapes
Interview With Remy Girard Of The Barbarian Invasions

Interview with Remy Girard of The Barbarian Invasions

Miramax is releasing The Barbarian Invasions this month. It is a French-Canadian drama from director Denys Arcand (Jesus of Montreal), and stars Remy Girard (Les Boys). Because so few films from Quebec get released in the U.S., most American moviegoers won't realize that Invasions reunites the characters and cast of another Arcand film, The Decline of the American Empire (1986). "We do export [film], but it's not the same thing," says Girard over tea in Denver. "In English Canada, [they] mostly consume American products. It's easy because it's the same language. If you want to be a star in Canada you must come to the United States." But Girard says that French-speaking Quebec is different. "We are interested first by what we are doing, and after this we are going to see what happens outside. We consume our culture before. You say it's a language barrier? Nah, it's a mentality, it's not a language barrier. We have cable. We watch American TV. We watch American movies. It's not only a question of language barrier it's an attitude. Quebecers consume their culture first." "Our three blockbusters last summer were, for the first time, three Quebec productions, ahead of American productions." The rise of Quebec's entertainment empire started at least 17 years ago. In 1986, Denys Arcand directed The Decline of the American Empire, an adult gathering-of-friends movie similar to The Big Chill. Four men prepare dinner at a house on the lake and talk about their sexual conquests. Meanwhile, four women work out at the gym and talk about their sexual experiences. Later that evening, all eight -- authors, professors, and intellectuals -- sit around the dining room table and talk about sex (although in a markedly different way than the same-sex groups had earlier.) The film took its title from a book one of the characters had written. Her thesis was that when a civilization started valuing individual enjoyment over personal duty, that civilization started its downfall. Furthermore, (in 1986) North America was on the brink of decline. Fast-forward 17 years. The empire continues its decline, and the barbarians are invading. A shot of the second jet crashing into the twin towers is shocking "evidence" that the barbarians are aiming for the heart of North America. But the metaphor works better on a more personal level. Remy's son has moved to England to work in finance. He returns to visit his dying father, and the resulting clash of generations is a more apt explanation for the film's title. Remy (played by Remy Girard) is an old intellectual who wishes his son had read "a single book, any book" growing up. But Sebastien (Stephane Rousseau) has led his own life and does not apologize for it. He's a financial wiz raised on computers. When he unwinds, it is in a video arcade, not in an armchair. Although the two don't see eye to eye, they find a way to love and appreciate each other without asking each other to change. Finding the same character after 17 years is an interesting challenge for any actor. Girard says it was more challenging than he might have thought, particularly since he didn't get to write the character. "[It was] easy to retrieve his sense of humor, his cynicism, the way he delivers. That was quite easy. I was checking the first movie to remember the way he moves, but in the second, geez, I was in bed, so it doesn't help me any more." "But yes, the most difficult part was that he was dying, he was really sick, and was not so happy as I would expect he has to be. I always thought that he was gonna make it because he had this insatiable lust for living. I also thought that, for this kind of guy, the search for happiness was quite easy. That was not the fact when I read the second script." Another actor might have spoken to writer/director Arcand to suggest some changes to reflect their own view of the character, but Girard didn't. "I accepted it. I was surprised, but I was challenged. The challenge was how to make this character, who has such an insatiable lust for living, make him dying and maybe make him accept it." It's not like anyone had 17 years to think about it, either. After Decline, the director and cast went their separate ways. They worked together in twos and threes -- after all, Quebec's TV and film production community is tight-knit. But nobody knew there was a "sequel" in the works. "It was a surprise for everybody," says Girard, "even with Denys. I know he was writing on death -- what happens with death, what happens with euthanasia -- and threw away these scripts during a lot of years because he always told me 'it's sad, it's pathetic, it's deep, it's melodramatic, it's uninteresting talking about death.' Then he had the flash. 'I could reunite this gang again and make Remy dying.'" Indeed, although the whole cast of Decline appears in Invasions, the second film focuses on Remy, whereas the first film was more of an ensemble. Girard says that was the right choice, given that Arcand was writing about death. "It makes sense to me that [Remy] was the one who has to die because he was the most living... lover of them all. Dramatically it's intelligent to make him die. I think facing death you have a great consciousness of futility. And I think it's hard to take when you have to make the last trip." "When it arrives for me I would like to say 'okay, I have done what I had to; maybe not all I had to do, but I have done a hell of a good part.'" by Marty Mapes

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of Francophone Award at 2004 Lumiere Awards.

Winner of the Audience Choice Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, January 8-19, 2004.

Co-winner (with "Lost in Translation") of the 2003 award for Best Screenplay by the Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA).

Voted one of the ten best Canadian films of 2003 by the Toronto Intl. Film Festival Group.

Winner of Best Screenplay and Best Actress (Marie-Josée Croze) at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.

Winner of the 2003 Award for Best Foreign Film by the National Board of Review.

Winner of the Best Canadian Feature at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival.

Winner of three 2003 Cesar Awards, including: Best French Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

Released in United States Fall November 21, 2003

Expanded Release in United States December 19, 2003

Released in United States on Video July 13, 2004

Released in United States 2003

Released in United States November 2003

Released in United States January 2004

Shown at London Film Festival October 22-November 6, 2003.

Shown at Palm Springs International Film Festival January 8-19, 2004.

Sequel to "Decline of the American Empire" (Canada/1986) directed by Denys Arcand.

Miramax Films acquired U.S. distribution rights at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.

Released in United States Fall November 21, 2003

Expanded Release in United States December 19, 2003

Released in United States on Video July 13, 2004

Released in United States 2003 (Shown at London Film Festival October 22-November 6, 2003.)

Released in United States November 2003 (Shown at AFI/Los Angeles International Film Festival (Special Screening) November 6-16, 2003.)

Released in United States January 2004 (Shown at Palm Springs International Film Festival January 8-19, 2004.)

The Country of Canada