- Canadian Essential: Chosen by the Amazon.ca editors as one of the 50 Canadian Essentials in DVD.
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The intriguing Denys Arcand (director of Jesus of Montreal and Stardom) returns to the lusty, cantankerous intellectuals of his first film, The Decline of the American Empire. Remy (Remy Girard), a history professor, is dying of cancer, and his estranged and financially successful son Sebastien (Stephane Rousseau) returns to care for the old man. With the power of money, Sebastien cuts through bureaucracy and the law to give his father some comfort--comfort that Remy accepts with reluctance, because in his eyes the unintellectual Sebastian has betrayed all of Remy's principles. Old friends arrive and soon the conversation turns to sex, religion, history, sex, academia, sex--The Barbarian Invasions isn't very focused, but the very breadth of its ideas makes it worth seeing; few movies even try to grapple with morality or the state of our culture, let alone with this kind of intelligence and grace. --Bret Fetzer