The Barbarian Invasions

Poster for The Barbarian Invasions

Winter 2004 Main series

Sunday, January 25, 2004 at 4:00pm
Sunday, January 25, 2004 at 7:00pm
Monday, January 26, 2004 at 7:00pm

Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS

Directed by


Rated 14A · 1h 52m

In 1986, renowned Quebecois filmmaker Denys Arcand’s masterwork The Decline Of The American Empire won 8 Genies, the Best Canadian Film & Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, Cannes’ Fipresci Award, the New York Film Critics Circle Award and a nomination for an Academy Award. Now, 17 years later, Arcand revisits the infamous characters from Decline in the witty and insightful The Barbarian Invasions, a film that took the 2003 Cannes Film Festival by storm, winning an award for it’s script (Prix du Scénario) as well as Best Actress (Marie-Josée Croze). Now in his early fifties and divorced, history professor Remy (Rémy Girard, Séraphin: Heart Of Stone) is in the hospital. His ex-wife Louise (Dorothée Berryman, The Red Violin) recalls their millionaire son Sébastien (Stéphane Rousseau) from his high-flying job in London to his estranged father’s side. Upon his arrival, Sébastien discovers his unrepentantly flirtatious father besieged by visitations from ex-mistresses in a crowded over-worked, under-staffed ward and takes things into his own hands. Pulling strings to obtain a clear diagnosis of his fathers illness (worse than expected), Sébastien smoothly uses bribery and illegal schemes to challenge the chaotic health care system to offer his dying father the best care conditions… and a bit of happiness. Friends from Remy’s rambunctious past flock to his bedside to offer support or settle scores. Divorced from Remy for a decade and a half, Louise looks to forgive, forget and move on. Pierre, who by his own admission lacked the self-esteem to procreate, has settled down with a buxom wife and kids but at what cost? As for Remy, his condition and new relationships with a warm and witty nun and a newfound junkie friend (Marie-Josée Croze, Ararat) offer him the opportunity to take a candid view of his own excesses and shortcomings. Through it all, Remy and his son, who stands for everything he despised about his own father, remain at loggerheads with little time to reconcile their differences. In The Barbarian Invasions, Denys Arcand (Jesus Of Montreal) once again displays his trademark wit and cynicism in the unforgiving, ironic picture he paints of some of our society’s institutions – healthcare, justice and educational systems, unions and the Church. At the same time, he celebrates his characters’ adroitness at eclipsing despair with humour and their immense appetite for life. The Decline Of The American Empire’s characters are back and sure to delight, move and provoke moviegoers in The Barbarian Invasions.

“What makes The Barbarian Invasions much more than a facile exercise in generational conflict is that Denys Arcand, who wrote and directed it, has a sense of history that is as acute as it is playful.” – A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“A lament for lost ideals, a fantasy of the good death, a rant against the evils of the modern besieged age – Arcand’s latest film can be seen as all these things at once.” – Liam Lacey, The Globe And Mail

“One of the most intelligent and articulate entertainments of the year from any country.” – Andrew Sarris, The New York Observer

“Encourages us to examine our own humanity, and to laugh and cry along with some familiar reprobates who are all too human, and all the more loveable for it.” – Peter Howell, The Toronto Star