I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians
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The Film Stage
Much like his beleaguered lead character, Jude manages to maintain a rousingly lewd sense of humor for the duration of the film’s substantial running time.
Los Angeles Times
The difficulty of turning mass spectacle into moral edification, of getting the public to think and care about history in ways that go beyond simple-minded patriotism, is a problem that this brilliantly multifaceted picture both critiques and embodies.
A dazzlingly dialectical and daring comedy/drama that skilfully brings past and present together and again challenges Jude’s compatriots to face up to the more unsavoury aspects of their history.
Of viciously pointed relevance anywhere populism is on the rise, “Barbarians” is a fiercely intelligent, engaging and challenging wake-up call, a film that leaves you smarter at the end than when you went in, but also sadder and significantly more terrified.
Radu Jude’s film is a bitterly comic essay on nationalist mythologies and historical amnesia.
The film’s title isn’t just referring to the past, but what everyone involved witnesses in their communities everyday. By letting this fester and not confronting it dead on are we not saying we’re fine with being “barbarians’? It’s a credible question the filmmaker leaves you to ponder in private.
The result is a formally loose, but dizzyingly dense and morally forthright examination of national attitudes and the myopia of nostalgia told through ranging meta-constructs and highfalutin debate.
The Hollywood Reporter
I Do Not Care if We Go Down in History as Barbarians is a mature, ambitious work from a spirited auteur who has mastered the cinematic rules well enough to break them with confidence.
The New York Times
Until its devastating final scenes, the way “I Do Not Care” makes its points is discursive rather than dramatic.
The A.V. Club
At its core, Barbarians is about the failure of communication. (The subplot about Mariana’s affair is more important than it seems.) This places it into a long tradition of modernist responses to fascism that stretches back to Eugène Ionesco—though one still can’t shake the feeling that Jude is more interested in pointing out obvious ironies than in anything else.
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