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This page concerns the 2003 film. For the "barbarian invasions" of Europe, see Migration Period.
The Barbarian Invasions

Original film poster
Directed by Denys Arcand
Produced by Daniel Louis
Denise Robert
Written by Denys Arcand
Starring Rémy Girard
Stéphane Rousseau
Dorothée Berryman
Louise Portal
Marie-Josée Croze
Marina Hands
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s) Cannes premiere:
May 21, 2003
September 24, 2003
United States:
November 21, 2003
United Kingdom:
February 20, 2004
April 1, 2004
Running time 112 minutes
Country Canada
Language French
Budget US$5,000,000
Preceded by The Decline of the American Empire
Followed by Days of Darkness

The Barbarian Invasions (French: Les Invasions barbares) is a 2003 French Canadian comedy-drama film directed by Denys Arcand. It is the sequel to Arcand's earlier film The Decline of the American Empire and is followed by Days of Darkness. The film was produced by companies from both Canada and France, including Téléfilm Canada, Société Radio-Canada and Canal+. It was released in 2003 and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 76th Academy Awards in 2004.



Continuing seventeen years after Arcand's 1986 film The Decline of the American Empire, the movie centres on an exploration of the characters first met in the original film and their children, newly introduced. The older generation are still largely socialist and proponents of Québécois nationalism, but both political and economic developments since the 1970s, as well as their own aging, make this stance seem somewhat anachronistic.

The plot revolves around the character Rémy's battle with terminal cancer, and the efforts of Sébastien, his estranged son to make his dying father more comfortable in his last days. Finally the father and son travel to Vermont in the United States to receive medical care.

Sébastien has reluctantly returned from London at the request of Rémy's ex-wife Louise, where he has a successful career in quantitative finance - anathema to his father's socialist tendencies. However, this background helps Sébastien to navigate and manipulate Quebec's failing healthcare system on his father's behalf. In the process, he also gathers the various other friends and family members from Rémy's past who come to visit and comfort him. During Rémy's last days, he and his friends travel to the cottage of the first film, and discuss philosophy, politics, and past sexual and intellectual exploits.



The film won France's 2004 César Award for Best Picture and Best Director, plus Best Original Screenplay for Denys Arcand. It also won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 76th Academy Awards, the first Canadian film to actually win the award, in 2004 (Arcand had been previously nominated for 'Invasions' predecessor The Decline of the American Empire and Jesus of Montreal). As of 2006, this Oscar is on public display at the Museum of Civilization in Quebec City as part of an exhibit about the cinema of Quebec.

At the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, it won two awards: Best Screenplay Award and Best Actress Award for Marie-Josée Croze.[1]

The film also won five Jutra Awards and six Genie Awards, as well as prizes at other international festivals (Bangkok International Film Festival, Cinema Brazil Grand Prize, Toronto International Film Festival, Czech Lions).


External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Nowhere in Africa
Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Succeeded by
The Sea Inside
Preceded by
The Pianist
César Award for Best Film
Succeeded by
Games of Love and Chance


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