Capitalism With a Human Face: The Movie

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Over at Tech Central Station, Amanda Oliver gives two thumbs up to the Oscar-winning film The Barbarian Invasions, which she summarizes thus:

Written and directed by Denys Arcand, The Barbarian Invasions is a witty and articulate film that interweaves intimate drama with social satire. This is a compelling human story yet this movie has also a powerful political voice, with its savage indictment of an ailing state healthcare system and strong stand in favor of free choice. It's a fresh take on the failures of state education and the ironies of socialist intellectuals. In the world Denys Arcand satirizes, hospital patients are stripped of human dignity and individual rights: administrators take bribes, trade unions have a tight stranglehold, and staff steal from the helpless. Government control goes so far as to forbid patients from transferring from one hospital to another.

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  1. As I recall, it is the first French-Canadian film to win in that category.

  2. > a witty and articulate film that
    > interweaves intimate drama with social
    > satire.

    and

    > hospital patients are stripped of human
    > dignity and individual rights: administrators
    > take bribes, trade unions have a tight
    > stranglehold, and staff steal from the helpless.

    Haven’t seen the film, but based on this review, it’s not a satire at all: it’s a documentary on our national healthcare system! Most Canadians have a positive view of our hospitals, but it’s in inverse proportion to the amount of actual experience we have with the system: those who’ve had the most contact tend to have the least confidence in the system.

  3. ‘Guess We’ll have to take the reviewer’s word that its “witty”. Sounds pretty depressing to me! Still, its on my watch list too. I did a quick online search but couldn’t immediately determine if it is released in an English version or with english subtitles. Anyone know? (maybe I read too quickly and missed it)

  4. Smug Canadians lapped up “Bowling for Columbine” for its depiction of American dystopia. Now one of our own has made the ultimate damning indictment of Canuckistan’s Soviet health care system.

    The irony is “Bowling” was supposed to be a documentary, but was full of half-truths and distortions. “Barbarians” is a work of fiction but works quite well as a documentary. From what I hear (read expat Mark Steyn’s review as well) the movie should be required watching for US politicians promising a single-payer solution.

  5. Saw it up here at the fine Sunshine Cinema on Houston St. in NYC. It’s subtitled, but there is english interspersed throughout the movie..

    It was definitely a decent flick, I must say.

  6. Curiously, the review could apply, almost word for word, to the 1971 American film, “The Hospital”, written by Paddy Chayevsky, and starring George C. Scott and Diana Rigg.

    It ain’t just Canada, and it ain’t just nationalized health care.

  7. Looks interesting. I’ll put it on my “to see” list.

  8. Matt Welch,

    You might wish to try “J?sus de Montr?al” and “Stardom.” The former has one of my favorite actors, Lothaire Bluteau – he is great in “Le confessional” and “La robe noire.”

  9. Matt,

    BTW, at least one of the characters in “Le D?clin de l’empire am?ricain” is a homosexual; and the wives also have something to say about sex as well. I think the film is more about the “culture” of intellectuals than it is what you describe.

  10. It should be noted that the prequel movie — which I was busy hating, until I loved it — was called “The Decline of American Civilization,” and was a meditation on the stereotypically French topic of Gallic-influenced academics justifying why they must fuck their friends’ wives.

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