‘Testament’: Denys Arcand says goodbye with a reactionary satire against the ‘woke’ | Culture

The devil knows more because he is old than because he is a devil. Denys Arcand, 82-year-old Canadian, director of social, political and cultural satires The decline of the American empireThe barbarian invasions and The fall of the American empire, composed between 1986 and 2018, and axes of a career of no less than 60 years, it always had something of the devil in it. Now it’s old too. And in his last work, Testament, With the appearance of a definitive inheritance from its title, it shows both things with undisguised vigor. Also without brake.

He has nothing to prove at this point, but this time, as also happened to him in the disenchanted and graceless The age of ignorance, in which it was not clear whether he showed himself as a conscientious analyst of the ills of society or as an outdated old man, he has gone too far. In his film, and perhaps also in life: his new work, released exclusively on Movistar, overturns all of his current ideas. His protagonist, a cultured old man who has spent his working life working as an archivist, around all sources of knowledge, is a clear alter ego of Arcand. Now he lives in a luxurious public nursing home, which is the subject of one of those contemporary debates that seem to cloud his mind so much: the protests of a group of activists in defense of the indigenous communities of Quebec, due to a mural from the century XIX on a wall of the institution, which for them reflects “a genocide.”

Another image of the protagonists of ‘Testament’.

In the same tone of ironic comedy and countercultural satire as some of his best films, Arcand takes aim at all types of correction and against many more or less disadvantaged groups. AND Testament It’s a sermon. A catalog against woke up in very different directions, in which there are darts for many. Namely, and without order or concert, as in the film: inclusive language, video games, Quebec social cinema, the lack of culture of politicians, the control of climate change, the defense of indigenous cultures by young white people, people who declare themselves non-binary, health fanatics, the grandiloquence in the conception of certain moral debates (“the intersexualization of identities”, “the menstruation of thought”, the so-called slut shaming, or blaming women and homosexuals for their unconventional sexual behavior), sports in the elderly, and the success of “radical” feminist literature, in a sequence in which the character attends an awards gala in which they triumph titles like Vaginas on fire, Pressure and revengeand Rebellious and violent, an autobiography.

“I will die in the face of general indifference,” says the protagonist, played by one of his favorite actors, Rémi Girard, head of a cast that includes a private joke: the prestigious playwright Robert Lepage, who in 2018 saw two controversial plays about him canceled. relations between whites and natives, slave and Kanatadue to the absence of interpreters from the second group, plays here an irate Vice Minister of Culture in defense of the survival of the nursing home mural.

It is clear that the director of the magnificent Jesus of Montreal He does not feel a participant in the society of his time, which he considers once again in decline, or further, in the definitive decline due to political correctness. However, although he may be right in some of his statements, all together, and without a single nuance, they reveal him less as a wise old man than as a vulgar reactionary. Testament, What could be the critical reflection of an old man who knows everything, is the thick diatribe of a carca devil.


Director: Denys Arcand.
Starring: Rémy Girard, Sophie Lorain, Robert Lepage, Caroline Néron.
Comedy genre. Canada, 2023.
Platform: Movistar.
Duration: 110 minutes.
Premiere: June 12.

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