HPPUB MOVIE REVIEW of The Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions Barberes)


Title:  The Barbarian Invasions

Release Date:  2003

Nationality and Language: Canada (Quebec); French, English

Running time:  99 minutes

MPAA Rating: R

Distributor and Production Company:  Miramax / Astral

Director; Writer:  Denys Arcand




Relevance to HPPUB site:  Health care

Review:  The “Barbarian Invasions” refers to striking at the heart of a system by little people, in asymmetric fashion. A tape of the planes hitting the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 is shown to make that point. But here, the “system” is Canada’s single payer health care system, and the “barbarian” is a young man Claude (Yves Jacques) called upon to come to Montreal from London to look after his father who is dying of stomach cancer. In one early scene Natalie (Marie-Josee Croze) lectures Claude about his dad did everything for him, so Claude, although greatly put out, owes his father the family blood loyalty of being there to fight for him.  Claude does so, bribing various health care officials with Canadian currency. Now, I don’t know that this is really what happens in Canada, but the film certainly makes a point against single-payer health care.


But the other thing is that health care is sometimes delivered to the elderly only when hospital or nursing home officials know that family is there to fight for the patient as the first ombudsman. I have to say that in 1999 I was not able to do that for my own mother, because of a political and legal situation that I had elected to take on. That is a long story,



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