the barbarian invasions, directed by denys arcand

somewhat disappointing. usually films that win for best screenplay (as t.b.i. did at cannes in 2003) are genuinely great films; this one is not. the characters seem a little too-roughly chiseled from overused cliches: the Prodigal Son, the Heroin Waif, the Emotionally Closed-Off Father. instead of having believable traits and idiosyncracies, the characters are held in thrall to what their respective types would say or do.

nevertheless, there is some good stuff. the father and son are predictably set up as opposites, but their differences are compelling, rooted in tensions of ideological import (socialism vs. capitalism, etc.). it's fascinating to watch how these tensions manifest themselves in an ordinary yet painful situation, the experience of dying. the father has his radical compatriots and the son has his money, and neither can purchase more time.

worth watching, despite its frustrating limitations.

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