All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
The Decline of the American Empire
Four very different Montreal university teachers gather at a rambling country house to prepare a dinner. Remy (married), Claude (a homosexual), Pierre (involved with a girlfriend) and Alain (a bachelor) discuss sex, the female body and their affairs with them. Meanwhile, their four female guests, Louise (Remy's wife of 15 years), Dominique (a spinster), Diane (a divorcée) and Danielle (Pierre's girlfriend) are spending the time at a downtown health gym. They also discuss sex, the female body and, naturally, men. Later in the evening, they finally meet at the country house and have dinner. A ninth guest, named Mario, who used to know Diane, drops in on the group for some talk and has a surprise of his own.
Real mature, poster artist. Real mature.
Curtis recommended this film and I was very glad to watch it. The film is structured by conversations about sex, the sexes, and power. One of the best Canadian films ever made.
Aside from the title, The Decline of the American Empire is a humorless comedy, painful melodrama, exercise in misogyny, racism and blatant sex. Every character is an painful to watch since they bear no positive qualities, but demand our sympathy. It doesn't work as a comedy, since it's not funny, and it doesn't work as a drama, since we have no interest in the character.
There's also a great deal of scenes that abruptly cut to something pretentious (ie. history lectures, or discussion about art) that have no effect on the thematic or plot related development.
What a waste of a great title...
The people in this film are intellectuals. How do I know this? They made a point to tell us many times. That's right, they're those kinds of people. Too be such self-proclaimed intellectuals, they really only seem to know how to discuss one topic. There are bits that are interesting, some that make me feel jealous, but it's the type of conversation that gets old quick.
From the reaction of others, including critics and award groups, it seems this film succeeds fairly well at what it's attempting. Unfortunately I have no interest whatsoever in what it's doing. The closest comparison in my mind is A Gun in Each Hand, which I liked even less than this.
Four unbearable men discuss their sex lives while elsewhere four unbearable women do the same. After an hour of that, the groups combine and they talk about nothing at all for a while, while referring to themselves as 'intellectuals'. Somewhere along the line, this is apparently supposed to be funny.
After an insufferable 90 minutes, the movie actually concludes very well, as the flippant conversations bleed into real-world drama. The…
Well, fuck it. If I get a cynical view on love, marriage and fidelity it will be because of the fucking movies I choose to watch. When did infidelity become so common place?
A very well written look at sexual mores in the lives of suburbans, a topic that I find of interest, not the suburbia aspect, the marital fidelity and all. Anywho, this one has some good ideas and it presents them in a fresh way. The acting and characters are really good, and for a movie that is entirely centered around a conversation, that is the key. A very interesting watch. Gives you a fresher perspective. I think I will watch its second and third part some day as well, just not at once.
For comparisons, this is kinda like Little White Lies and The Ice Storm.
Could not get into this AT. ALL. I think I sort of got what it was going for, and I appreciate that it's a 30 year old film with whatever baggage that brings, but I found its "intellectual" discussions tedious and its sexual politics suspect. It's possible we're not supposed to "like" any of these characters, certainly not the men, but I'm not so sure. It doesn't really matter, in the end, but it doesn't help make this feel any less like a sub-Rohmer exploration of "eternal" questions of men and women with unsatisfactory answers. As pretty looking as it can be, and as different as parts of it must have felt in 1986, it felt like a film actively attempting to repel my interest. And I'm simply not Quebecois enough to really get the more political/philosophical side of this beyond a fairly surface level, which (fairly or not) makes me suspect there isn't much to get.
Real mature, poster artist. Real mature.
Serving as a prequel 17 years earlier of his Oscar-winning picture THE BARBARIAN INVASIONS (2003), Denys Arcand’s Oscar-nominated THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE is a pungent satire about the clashing encounter of the cerebral front and visceral impact pursuant to sex, marriage, betrayal and gender politics.
Set in Montreal, the ensemble including four very different men (three are university professors), Pierre (Curzi), a middle-aged man dating a young girl, Rémy (Girand), a married man for 15 years, Claude (Jacques), a single gay professor, and a young bachelor Alain (Brière), while they are preparing a dinner for the evening, their four female guests, are dripping with sweat in the uptown gym, they are, Louise (Berryman), Rémy’s wife, Dominique (Michel), a…
"Is the frantic drive for personal happiness we see in society today linked to the decline of the American empire as we are now experiencing it?"
An interesting question and well explored on a smaller scale of sex, health and relationships. Though most of the characters are likely to repulse you, it is quite interesting to watch as the two groups gossip and gloat of their sexual escapades as you await the inevitable battle.
Verbally explicit, slightly comical, and tragically unsympathetic.
Forget all the new, talky french movies about genderroles, partnership, Love and more important sex of the last years and watch instead this french-canadian, great one from 1986.
I disliked every character in this film and was waiting for them all to die of AIDS.
Cannes Film Festival
Academy Awards, USA - Nomination:
Best Foreign Language Film
Genie Awards - Won:
Best Motion Picture
Best Achievement in Direction - Denys Arcand
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role - Gabriel Arcand
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role - Louise Portal
Best Achievement in Film Editing
Best Overall Sound
Best Screenplay, Original
Best Sound Editing
Golden Reel Award
Genie Awards - Nomination:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role - Pierre Curzi
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role -Rémy Girard
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role - Dorothée Berryman
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role - Yves Jacques
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role - Geneviève Rioux
Toronto International Film Festival
People's Choice Award
Best Canadian Feature Film
New York Film Critics Circle Awards
Best Foreign Language Film
It's like a Quebecois The Big Chill, though without the classic rock and with even more dialogue. It's mostly pretty funny and witty, but it doesn't really seem to lead anywhere. The third act turn towards serious drama is the logical result of the preceding dialogue, but it's still a bit off-putting. The strange historical ideologies and shaken beliefs of these formerly idealistic characters are the real interesting parts of the film, but unfortunately they're mostly brushed over in favour of more sex talk. Still, it's entertaining enough and you could do worse for Quebec film.
It wanted to be a grand, eloquent statement about sexual relationships in the western world, but it's a little whiny. These are all upper class individuals, who value their own needs and desires above their partners. They approach relationships for the most part with the mentality of what they can get from the other person. Focused on short-term gain, mostly sexual gratification, they don't invest and work on their relationships.
Some of it has an intellectual, talky vibe it, but for the most part they seem like smarter versions of Sam Malone, a character motivated almost completely by his libido. The conversations were nice and occasionally illuminating, but mostly they were just trying to get in each other's pants.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is handed out annually by the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts…