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Every Monday the Journey with Jesus posts a new essay based upon the Biblical Lectionary, a film review, a book review, and a poem or prayer.

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The Journey with Jesus: Film Reviews

Film Reviews by Dan Clendenin

The Barbarian Invasions (2003)—French

           The monastics encourage Christians to give some thought to your death every day, not in morbid introspection but in order to live fully today. This film, which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, does just that. Remy Girard is dying, and now he must come to grips with how he has lived. In a number of significant ways he remains deeply alienated—he started cheating on his wife six months after they married; his chief accomplishment in life upon which he dwells and which forms a major theme of the film is his lifelong sexual escapades; he is estranged from his two children; he describes his work as a professor as total failure; he admits that he is scared of dying; and his son even has to pay some of his students to visit him in the hospital to assure him how sorely he will be missed. But his friends gather around him, they talk and celebrate, and he reconciles at some level with his two children. But is it believable that his son would really bypass bureaucrats and bribe union officials to get an entire unused floor of the hospital so Remy could have peace and quiet, that snorting heroin at his stage of the game is really such a great idea, and that his former wife would so graciously welcome his lovers at Remy's deathbed? Still, this is a powerful film about a date with destiny that, like Remy, we all have. He faced it head on and full throttle. In French with English subtitles.