my 2 cents

les invasions barbares

(Or, The Barbarian Invasions)

During the first five minutes of this film, I was resigned to yet another foreign film with annoying, unrealistic "quirky" characters and wondered if I would stay with it to the end. Hah. The film settled down quite quickly and sucked me in and held me tight for the full ride.

I loved it. Loved it. Now, I should warn you of my strange proclivities if you are not already aware of them. I adore films that capture the essence of French culture (even though this is a Canadian film and the characters are all Canadian-- the aesthetic and language is French).

It wound together some fabulous elments that make me feel that all is right with the world. Crazy long conversations about philosophy and regrets and the hopeless crevasse of politics-- while good food and wine is consumed.

I also loved the visual statements about socialist medicine: people lining the hallways of the hospital and overcrowded rooms and doctors who call patients by the wrong name. It is the capitalist son-- a rich financier-- who greases the wheels, working every angle of the system with cash. From the mafia-like union guys, to the head administrator--without money, the father's beautiful dying days would never have existed. The son created the world. (And, how utterly telling that the floor below the crowded floor is absolutely empty and there is room enough for EVERYONE? If this movie doesn't give you a different perspective on socialized medicine, I don't know what will).

Sure, it was a bit pat and contrived in parts-- mostly the convenience of his father's friend's junkie daughter who can get all the heroin necessary. But overall? Lots of wonderful scenes and images. I loved it and found it absolutely satisfying.

updated: September 21, 2004

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