7.3/10
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35 user 28 critic

The Decline of the American Empire (1986)

Le déclin de l'empire américain (original title)
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Sexual revelations emerge when a group of academics and their partners spend a weekend at a country retreat.

Director:

Denys Arcand

Writers:

Denys Arcand, Gabriel Arcand (collaborating writer) | 6 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dominique Michel ... Dominique St. Arnaud
Dorothée Berryman ... Louise
Louise Portal ... Diane Leonard
Pierre Curzi ... Pierre
Rémy Girard ... Rémy
Yves Jacques ... Claude
Geneviève Rioux ... Danielle
Daniel Brière ... Alain
Gabriel Arcand ... Mario
Évelyn Regimbald ... Theresa
Lisette Guertin Lisette Guertin
Alexandre Remy Alexandre Remy ... Transvestite
Ariane Frédérique Ariane Frédérique
Jean-Paul Bongo Jean-Paul Bongo ... Mustafa
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Storyline

A group of academics at the University of Montreal - most long time friends - are planning on gathering at the lakeside recreational home of Rémy and Louise, who have been together for twenty years, married for fifteen of them, for dinner. Louise knows Rémy cheats on her, but believes he only does so when she is not around, about which she accepts. Their recreational home is adjacent to many of the recreational homes of the others, who are: divorced Pierre, his much younger current girlfriend Danielle who is a student at the university, the two who are still in the stage of newfound love, divorced mother Diane, independent minded Dominique, single homosexual Claude, and graduate student Alain. While the four men prepare the dinner, the four women are working out together in the gym. The common factor between the two groups is the topic of conversation: sex, especially as it relates to themselves. But underlying each of the conversations is their own academic and thus intellectual ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sex | dinner | university | gym | weekend | See All (71) »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

14 November 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Decline of the American Empire See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 1,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$41,854, 16 November 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,902,706
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The house in which the majority of the events take place, in Magog, burned down in 1989, was later rebuilt. The scene in which one of the women characters is having sex, seen through a window from outside, was actually shot through a garage window. The actress was sitting on the snow tires which the owner of the house stored in the garage. She told him that, thanks to the tires, it was one of the most comfortable scenes she had ever done. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Last Wedding (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Music themes
by George Frideric Handel.
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User Reviews

 
Improves on second viewing...
3 April 2004 | by wisewebwomanSee all my reviews

And also on having seen the Barbarian Invasions. I loved it the first time around, startled by its depiction of the dialogue on sex and realizing it was also reaching for something deeper. Men bragging to each other, the macho-ness of it all. The over-intellectualizing analysis of the battle of the sexes. The vulnerability underlying all the scenes, the false bravado. The acceptance of homosexuality. The jarring introduction of the brute biker primitive to the sophistication of the academics' table. The tangible hurt of Louise at the offhanded way Remy admits to affairs with her best friends. The devastating betrayal she feels and her seeking comfort from the only safe person - Claude, someone who cannot hurt her. Diane, wounded, angry acting out with her brutal lover. So much richness and depth. And the Barbarian Invasions, 18 years later in the lives of all, only enhances it. Bravo, Denys and everyone. 8 out of 10.


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