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10/10
One sided? Yes. The 'right' side.
12 March 2008
As a United Empire Loyalist and descendant of Joseph Thayendanegea Brant, I'm obliged to respond to the above post.

I believe the title of this movie refers to the division of allegiances among the Haudenosaunee Nations, not any personal ambiguity Brant had between his own people and the British.

"…when Brant was alive his loyalties were leaning more towards the British rather than toward his own people like the way it should have been" "Should have been"? As declared by someone passing judgment and second guessing a man who has been dead for two hundred years? How accurate will the assessment be of our personal feelings after you and I have been dead for two centuries? "Most Mohawks see Brant as a sellout because he bestowed more on the British ways than his own." Please cite your source of data for the above statement claiming "Most Mohawks see Brant as a sellout…" THIS Mohawk doesn't see Brant as a "sellout", and neither do untold numbers of other Mohawks who are eternally grateful for Brant getting us out of the new United States. Those Haudenosaunee who remained in New York faced decades of broken treaties, land theft, attacks and mistreatment which lasts to this day. Read the terms of the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794 and decide for yourself if the Americans had any intention of treating the Haudenosaunee fairly.

While it's true Brant was formally educated and dressed in the British style, his main intent of securing relative safety for his people and the generations to follow is undeniable. His mannerisms were unquestionably influenced by his personal admiration of the British, but no more so than those of other First Nations leaders of the day. Red Jacket, Tecumseh and others dressed in non-Native clothing as well and adapted non-Native traits.

"As a matter of fact, some of today's Mohawks say that the 6 Nations were destroyed because of Brant. It was his loyalty to Britain that caused the breakup of the 6 Nations Confederacy." Carte-blanche and broad-sweeping statements such as this have no basis in 'fact', but are merely stating one's opinion. Blaming one man for the entire 'breakup' of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy is groundless, as leaders without followers are powerless.

Another 'opinion' might hold that Brant actually saved the Haudenosaunee Confederacy from flat-out extinction… which was certainly on the minds of many of the new Americans and their government. By leading the Haudenosaunee to the relative safety of their new homelands along the Grand River, Brant secured what would become the largest community in the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the largest reserve in Canada. That's 'fact' - not 'opinion' – and certainly points to Brant having done more to sustain the prominence of the Six Nations than he did to 'destroy' it.

The Haldimand Proclamation granted some 950,000 acres to the people of the Six Nations of the Grand River for their loyalty to the Crown.

By contrast, for their loyalty to the Rebels (and saving Washington and his troops from starving to death the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge) the Oneida people were awarded a magnanimous *32 acres* out of the original millions of acres of their Traditional homelands in New York. You do the math and figure out who was treated better after the war.

Brant may not have been on the 'winning' side, but he was on the 'right' side. Seven Generations later, more Mohawks reside within Canada than in the States and there are very good reasons for this. Trust me; I live in the States and can personally see the differences.

As for the movie, it's very good. High drama, of course, and inarguably one-sided but in an age when American schlock like 'The Patriot' are openly advancing the American perspective, it's good to see a Canadian production giving appropriate equal time to the 'other' side. There are no shortages of U.S. versions of history in film and as a proud Mohawk, member of the Six Nations of the Grand River and a Canadian, I'm extremely happy to see a non-American portrayal of what transpired during the American Revolution.

For more information on the Loyalists, see the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada's website at : www.uelac.org and Grand River Branch UELAC website at : www.grandriveruel.ca .
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10/10
Astonishing.
21 November 2006
In a genre by itself, this film has a limited audience and narrow appeal coupled with a subtle undertone which permeates the entire production. Nevertheless, it is a remarkable piece of cinema which is as timeless as a rare work of art. Capturing a time in Québec rarely seen in movies, Mon Oncle Antoine's strength lies in the depth of its characters and the richness of the settings. Duplessis' Québec, parochial and feudal, is brilliantly cast as the backdrop which could not possibly be achieved by anyone other than a pure laine Québecois.

It would be far too easy to resort to stereotypes, clichés and single-minded myopic statements in this story. Yet the director chose to skip the forced imagery and instead, focused on the essence of life in rural Québec of the time. That makes this film exceptional in its authenticity while not being pretentious in its presentation. If only more contemporary cinematic endeavors would do the same, the viewing public might not be forced to choose between the over-hyped Hollywood Pablum that passes for 'Must See' viewing.

Mon Oncle Antoine is - in every sense of the word - unforgettable. It will leave a lasting impression on anyone who has ever lived in - or visited - Québec. A classic. **********************************************

Follow-up: 10 May 2008

After reviewing some of the comments, it's worth noting Mon oncle Antoine is NOT - and probably wasn't MEANT to serve as standard Hollywood/American cinema for mass market sales. A coming of age story, yes, but far more than simple memoirs of adolescence in 1940's Québec. Viewers who're looking for sheer entertainment at the expense of complex development of the characters will be sorely disappointed. Go watch action/adventure/romance/comedies to be amused. Watch Mon oncle Antoine to be drawn into a seldom seen, but absolutely remarkable society that has been overlooked and ignored for far too long.

The Grapes of Wrath is hardly an edge-of-the-seat thriller, yet the story and characters are what makes this American classic an enduring film. Mon oncle Antoine is in the same genre.
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