101 minutes – Comedy/drama
Language: French, English subtitles
Festival release date: September 1986 (Toronto International Film Festival)
Release date: June 19, 1986 (Québec)
Le déclin de l’empire américain (The Decline of the American Empire) is a brilliant satire of the male/female wars among a group of middle-aged, middle-class denizens of Montreal, all staged around a major meal at a country retreat on the shores of Lake Memphremagog. The group of intellectual friends spend a day in assorted groups discussing sex, love, sex, relationships and… sex. At times serious and then funny, Arcand’s vision is at once a cynical and cerebral look at how men and women view each other, and the concept of happiness itself. Chosen to be the opening night film of the 1986 Toronto Festival of Festivals, Le Déclin de l’empire americain went on to win the FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, nine Genie Awards, including Best Motion Picture, and was the first Canadian film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Also see: A brief review of The Decline of the American Empire