Sunday, November 25, 2018


The women of The Decline of the American Empire

The Decline of the American Empire is a Canadian film about a group of intellectual academics that seem to talk an awful lot about sex. The first half of the film features the four women and four men separately and the second half of the film shows them all together at a weekend retreat. The dialogue is pretty good here and we do get some insight into the characters of our featured players. The down side is that a lot of these characters don't come off as very likable or easy to relate to. I say this as someone who tends to like movies about academics. There are some nice scenes here, including the scene where one of the characters falls in love with his masseuse and another where the one outsider character dresses down the academics for being all talk and no action. 

The Decline of the American Empire  reminds me a little of some of the Woody Allen movies from this era-at least as far as the interaction between the characters goes. Another film It reminded me of in tone and interactions was The Barbarian Invasions, which I only realized after I watched this had the same director (Denys Arcand).

The men of The Decline of the American Empire

Colm Feore as Glenn Gould in one of the 
Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould

How does one make a film about an artist and capture the essence of the artist? The Color of Pomegranates and I'm Not There told their portraits of artists as young and old men in their own unique way. Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould does this as well. It also is literally what the title says it is. Glenn Gould was a renowned Canadian classical pianist and interpreter of the music of Bach. His story is told in these thirty-two films through interviews, dramatizations (with Colm Feore portraying Gould), musical expressions and some sections that I'd just have to categorize under miscellaneous. I think it works for the most part and the order that these films are presented does give the viewer a sense of Gould's life, art and influence.
The artist in
Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould


  1. There's a reason this should have reminded you of The Barbarian Invasions. The Barbarian Invasions is a sequel to The Decline of the American Empire.

    I liked Thirty-Two Short Films. The comparison with I'm Not There is a good one.

  2. I didn't even recognize the character overlap between Barbarians and Decline. They certainly had the same tone.