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Heading South Review


Excellent
Heading South is a sun-splashed trip to an unusual place -- Haiti -- and an unusual time -- the turbulent '70s, when the Duvalier dictatorship terrorized the country and drove it into the ruin in which it remains today.

But down at the beach, things are beautiful. The upscale resort at which most of the film takes place is popular with women of a certain age who come alone not just for the weather but for the attention of the local beach boys who wander around, strike up flirtations, and provide sexual favors in exchange for gifts.

Continue reading: Heading South Review

The Decline Of The American Empire Review


Good
It's amazing how films that once so perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the day can degrade so quickly into mere curiosity.

Witness Denys Arcand's celebrated The Decline of the American Empire, a lauded film (which made my own top 10 list for 1986) that consists of little more than a series of conversations between men and between women and between men and women -- all about sex. From infidelity to disease, Empire runs the gamut of sex talk. The implication, one wonders, is whether this is what the decline of the American empire is all about -- and why is it happening in a French-speaking province of Canada? Never mind the accents, it's juicy gossip that proves that all of us -- men and women -- are dirty pigs.

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The Barbarian Invasions Review


Excellent
Odd companionship makes for great human drama. Some of the finest films about relationships have, at their center, a strange pairing of souls (Kieslowski's Red and Harold and Maude immediately come to mind). French-Canadian filmmaker Denys Arcand understands the curiosity from such chemistry; so, he gives us the unlikely connection between a dying intellectual and a waifish heroin addict for his thought-provoking The Barbarian Invasions. And that's just a peripheral story.

Arcand is too experienced to be satisfied with this singular friendship as a focal point. Instead, it's just one of the delicate links that the veteran writer/director examines in this tale that briskly comments on everything from healthcare to ethics to today's Christianity.

Continue reading: The Barbarian Invasions Review

The Barbarian Invasions Review


Very Good

In Denys Arcand's "The Barbarian Invasions," the bald, flabby, bespectacled Remy (Remy Girard) is slowly dying. He never makes a miraculous recovery, nor does he renounce his sinful lifestyle, nor does he leave behind a fortune for his friends and family to enjoy. He's a goner.

How difficult it must be to get producers to finance a film about death, not to mention getting audiences to pay to see a film about death.

The reason "The Barbarian Invasions" succeeds is because -- to quote an old critical chestnut -- it's really about life.

Continue reading: The Barbarian Invasions Review

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Louise Portal Movies

Heading South Movie Review

Heading South Movie Review

Heading South is a sun-splashed trip to an unusual place -- Haiti -- and an...

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The Barbarian Invasions Movie Review

The Barbarian Invasions Movie Review

Odd companionship makes for great human drama. Some of the finest films about relationships have,...

The Barbarian Invasions Movie Review

The Barbarian Invasions Movie Review

In Denys Arcand's "The Barbarian Invasions," the bald, flabby, bespectacled Remy (Remy Girard) is slowly...

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