7.7/10
2,354
30 user 31 critic

Mon Oncle Antoine (1971)

Mon oncle Antoine (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 12 November 1971 (Canada)
Set in cold rural Quebec at Christmas time, we follow the coming of age of a young boy and the life of his family which owns the town's general store and undertaking business.

Director:

Claude Jutra

Writers:

Claude Jutra (adaptation), Clément Perron (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Orderers (1974)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A fact-based account of ordinary citizens who found themselves arrested and imprisoned without charge for weeks during the October Crisis in 1970 Quebec.

Director: Michel Brault
Stars: Hélène Loiselle, Jean Lapointe, Guy Provost
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

At the instigation of the filmmakers, the young men of the Ile-aux-Coudres in the middle of the St-Lawrence River try as a memorial to their ancestors to revive the fishing of the belugas ... See full summary »

Directors: Michel Brault, Pierre Perrault
Stars: Léopold Tremblay, Alexis Tremblay, Abel Harvey
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A woman is overwhelmed with having to deal with her emotionally unstable daughter, mentally-challenged brother and two suitors while simultaneously trying to run her small firewood business.

Director: Francis Mankiewicz
Stars: Charlotte Laurier, Marie Tifo, Germain Houde
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The telling of an Inuit legend of an evil spirit causing strife in the community and one warrior's endurance and battle of its menace.

Director: Zacharias Kunuk
Stars: Natar Ungalaaq, Sylvia Ivalu, Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq
Léolo (1992)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Young Leo Lauzon is torn between two worlds - the squalid Montreal tenement that he inhabits with his severely dysfunctional (and largely insane) family, and the imaginative world that he ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Claude Lauzon
Stars: Maxime Collin, Ginette Reno, Gilbert Sicotte
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A group of actors put on an unorthodox, but acclaimed Passion Play which incites the opposition of the Catholic Church while the actors' lives themselves begin to mirror the Passion itself.

Director: Denys Arcand
Stars: Lothaire Bluteau, Catherine Wilkening, Johanne-Marie Tremblay
Kamouraska (1973)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Quebec, the 1830s and 1840s. As she attends the bedside of Jérôme, her second husband, Élisabeth recalls her youth, her marriage to her first husband, Antoine, life in remote Kamouraska ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Jutra
Stars: Geneviève Bujold, Richard Jordan, Marcel Cuvelier
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A man struggles with his identity, his life choices, his interracial relationship, and his latent homosexuality. A portrait of some young intellectuals in early sixties Montreal.

Director: Claude Jutra
Stars: Claude Jutra, Johanne Harelle, Victor Désy
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Sexual revelations emerge when a group of academics and their partners spend a weekend at a country retreat.

Director: Denys Arcand
Stars: Dominique Michel, Dorothée Berryman, Louise Portal
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The intersecting stories of three people who face difficult choices in life-changing situations are used to illustrate the theories espoused by Henri Laborit about human behavior and the relationship between the self and society.

Director: Alain Resnais
Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Nicole Garcia, Roger Pierre
Octobre (1994)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A dramatization of the infamous Canadian terrorist abduction & murder of a government minister by a cell of The Quebec Liberation Front.

Director: Pierre Falardeau
Stars: Hugo Dubé, Luc Picard, Pierre Rivard
Monsieur Hire (1989)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A recluse is accused of murdering a young woman simply because his neighbors think he is strange.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Michel Blanc, Sandrine Bonnaire, Luc Thuillier
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jacques Gagnon ... Benoit
Lyne Champagne Lyne Champagne ... Carmen
Jean Duceppe ... Uncle Antoine
Olivette Thibault Olivette Thibault ... Aunt Cécile
Claude Jutra ... Fernand, Clerk
Lionel Villeneuve Lionel Villeneuve ... Jos Poulin
Hélène Loiselle ... Madame Poulin
Mario Dubuc Mario Dubuc ... Poulin's son
Lise Brunelle Lise Brunelle ... Poulin's daughter
Alain Legendre Alain Legendre ... Poulin's son
Robin Marcoux Robin Marcoux ... Poulin's son
Serge Evers Serge Evers ... Poulin's son
Monique Mercure ... Alexandrine
Georges Alexander Georges Alexander ... The Big Boss
Rene Salvatore Catta Rene Salvatore Catta ... The Vicar
Edit

Storyline

Set in cold rural Quebec at Christmas time, we follow the coming of age of a young boy and the life of his family which owns the town's general store and undertaking business. Written by Steve Richer <sricher@sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

12 November 1971 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Mon Oncle Antoine See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Quotes

Alexandrine: [Trying on her new corset] I hope it's the same one I saw in the catalog.
Carmen: The exact same one. There's a black lace rose with pink lining on the front and little swirls on the hips. Very pretty.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The actor who plays the Big Boss is billed as Georges Alexander in the original French language version, but as George Alexander in the dubbed English version. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Magical Eye (1989) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Christmas, Cuckolds, and Corpses
29 July 2008 | by MacAindraisSee all my reviews

Mon Oncle Antoine (1971)

Despite having a heavy film industry presence (usually American productions looking for cheap locations), Canada's own gems have often gone by the wayside. We're too close to America to really for it to care enough about a film not about its own country, and too far from overseas to have the exotic flare found in European or Asian cinema. Perhaps that is why the film considered Canada's best goes so widely underseen and overlooked. Claude Jutra's classic Mon Oncle Antoine truly is one of the best Canadian films ever made. It's also one of my favourite films, period. It is now out in a lovely 2 disc package from the folks at Criterion.

Set in an early 1940s Quebec asbestos mining town, it's a coming of age story over the course of a few days at Christmas time. Adolescent Benoit lives with his uncle, Antoine, his aunt, and a teenage girl, Carmen, who the family houses and employs at their store. Antoine not only owns the local general store, but is the local undertaker as well, among other things.

The film floats around, with no real plot-wise direction. Events happen in a relaxed and patient fashion, not to highlight story, but to highlight the emotional development of Benoit as he transforms from a free spirited adolescent into adulthood. He experiences the sexual passions, the harsh indifferences and the cynicism of leaving childhood behind. Jutra balances light hearted humour and charm with dark pathos and sadness with a deft hand. There are playful moments between Antoine and Carmen, and comedy with the sneaky Fernand (played by Jutra himself), who runs the store for Antoine when he's not chasing the uncle's wife. There is also a moment of great triumph when Benoit and another boy throw snowballs at the mine owner as he makes his way through town giving out small gift bags for Christmas rather than raises or bonuses to the men as the soundtrack blares a score fit for a spaghetti western.

On the darker side, there is a separate story where a family's father leaves the mines and heads to the logging camps. While he is away, his eldest son takes ill, and dies on Christmas Eve. Antoine is phoned to come pick up the boy's body, and Benoit insists he go along. The long sleigh ride through a snow storm offers him opportunities for mischief, but in the end leaves him with sad realizations about the nature of adulthood and those around him.

Mon Oncle Antoine is certainly about the loss of innocence, but it is also more than just a story about a boy in rural Quebec. It is a parable about the coming of age of the province itself. Most of the mines were owned by either Americans or English speaking Canadians, as referenced by the film when the mine foreman speaks in English to his French workers who do not understand. The time period is the Maurice Duplessis era - he was the premier of Quebec with his Union Nationale. His party was deeply conservative, pro-business, rabidly anti-socialist (in any form), and formed deep rooted connections with the traditional Catholic clergy. He was also deeply corrupt, and reportedly a master of ballot stuffing. It's also just prior to the Asbestos Mine strikes and the Quiet Revolution. The miners voted to strike, which was deemed illegal by Duplessis, who continued to pledge unwavering support for the mine owners,. He also authorized the use of strike breakers which lead to incidents of violence. However, the miners had the widespread support of the public and the French media, and even most priests and the province's archbishop. This marked a major turning point in Quebec culture, as well as the shift to the social left in a large part of Canadian Catholicism. Separatist ideology increased dramatically.

History lessons aside, the physical construction of the film, meant to evoke life in the harsh mining towns in the Asbestos region, must be recognized. The small town, shadowed by the mine hills, literally exudes its cold surroundings, yet still manages to fill its homes with undeniable warmth thanks to its characters. Jutra also uses practical, naturalistic lighting rather than normal crisp studio lighting. The sounds and senses of Canadian winters are placed front and centre by Jutra. This is how these towns are supposed to look and feel during winter. The feel of the film is not limited to Quebec culture. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia not only have massive French populations and culture, but the same woods, the same houses, the same towns. I know the feel of small harsh industrial towns - I grew up in one in Nova Scotia. They are not at all unlike the one in Mon Oncle Antoine. Most of them still look just like they did 50 years ago (if not worse). Perhaps that is one of the reasons why I love this film so much. It's the sensation of familiarity found in Eastern Canadian life and culture (which has its own very large French/Acadien population and culture.

But alas, I am rambling, and fear that I could go on and on. Mon Oncle Antoine is one of the great hidden gems of the cinema. Its performances are earnest; the photography is evocative and beautiful in that cold, bleak sort of way; its direction is assured and inspired. It is a masterful portrait of childhood's twilight, and a sad but hopeful realization of the loss of innocence - a parable for the whole of Quebec.


48 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 30 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed