A new personal milestone!

I just realized something. I think I bought my first-ever non-English DVD today.

I know, I know, it’s awful that a cinephile like me should have gone without any foreign-language films for so long. But I have always tended to shy away from bare-bones DVDs of any language, just in case the films are re-issued some day with all the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect; and the handful of foreign-language special-edition DVDs that I have been interested in have tended to be pricey Criterion sets and the like. So, as much as I love films like Ikiru — and I do! — I have been avoiding shelling out the big bucks for them.

Anyway, today I happened to be rummaging through the discounted DVDs at a local video store, and I noticed that they had the two-disc edition of Denys Arcand’s The Barbarian Invasions, and at a very reasonable price — and considering how high my late fees went the last time I rented it, I probably could have saved myself a lot of bother if I had just bought the film at this price back then! Besides, I’ve always wanted to check out the shorter version of this film. So, I snapped it up.

Technically, I suppose this is not a “foreign” film, per se, since it is Canadian. Then again, I live in “British” Columbia, and you are much more likely to hear Cantonese or Punjabi or any of a number of other languages here before you hear any French!

ADDENDUM: Something else occurs to me. The DVD cover art pictured here is from the American Amazon site. But while it resembles the cover art on my DVD, it is not the same — for example, the central picture on my disc is not of the man and woman kissing, but of the man resting his head against that of his terminally ill father. The American edition goes for the sex appeal, while the Canadian edition goes for something truer to the spirit of the film. And then there is this third version, which hints at the film’s theme and tone in an even more provocative way; I have not yet seen this image on any video-store shelves, though it does form the cover of the booklet that comes with my DVD.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his award-winning film column for that paper, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He has also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005) and The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and Its Reception in Film (De Gruyter, 2016).