At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

At the Movies

Barbarian Invasions--Rémy, an aging Québecois leftist, wit, and bon vivant, is forced by terminal cancer to reevaluate his life and, in particular, to close the rift between himself and his jet-set capitalist son. Aside from his sexual libertinism, which he recounts numerous times with glee, Rémy rather seems to regret much of his radical past. "What -ism did we not embrace?" he asks his university chums with a sigh, and winces at the memory of naively professing an admiration for Mao to a Chinese student who undoubtedly suffered under the Cultural Revolution. More than once characters admit to some nostalgia for the entrenched Roman Catholicism of 1950s Québec. The sharp satire of Canadian socialized medicine in the first half of the film reinforces the message that the heritage of the 1960s revolution has been decidedly mixed. The dialogue is often very funny, if sometimes a little too perfectly scripted. Now I want to see the movie to which Barbarian Invasions was a sequel, Decline of the American Empire.

I saw this at the Inwood Theater in north Dallas with Felix and Pablo. It was a great evening; we had gone book shopping at an large Half Price Books downtown earlier, and after the film enjoyed a nice meal on the patio of a Turkish restaurant around the corner from the theater, splurging on Turkish merlot and appetizers before, and baklava with Turkish coffee after, the main course. Ah, big city civilization--almost makes me think it'd be worth it to work in some hellhole of a downtown public library.


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