The Barbarian Invasions

Rated 3.0 Filmmaker Denys Arcand (The Decline of the American Empire) peers into the last days of a hedonistic history professor (Rémy Girard) who wears leftist rhetoric on his puffed chest as a badge of courage and contentedly justifies even his marital infidelity while awaiting passage to “the other side.” Fortunately, Arcand does not ask us to weep for this human monument to self-righteous intellectualism but rather to monitor the fluctuating pulse of family dynamics as parents and siblings reunite after years of dissension to lick their emotional wounds and reassess their zest for life. The film also takes a swing at Canada’s social-medicine system, with a subplot in which street heroin is procured and smuggled into the hospital to lessen the professor’s physical pain. The film may be more of a sad commentary on the human condition than traditionally sad in the manner Arcand intended.