7.9/10
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Mon oncle d'Amérique (1980)

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

Writers:

Jean Gruault (scenario and dialogue), Henri Laborit (writings)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gérard Depardieu ... René Ragueneau
Nicole Garcia ... Janine Garnier
Roger Pierre ... Jean Le Gall
Nelly Borgeaud ... Arlette Le Gall
Pierre Arditi ... Zambeaux, le représentant de la direction générale à Paris
Gérard Darrieu Gérard Darrieu ... Léon Veestrate
Philippe Laudenbach ... Michel Aubert
Marie Dubois ... Thérèse Ragueneau
Henri Laborit Henri Laborit ... Himself
Bernard Malaterre Bernard Malaterre ... Le père de Jean
Laurence Roy Laurence Roy ... La mère de Jean
Alexandre Rignault Alexandre Rignault ... Le grand-père de Jean / Jean's Grandfather
Véronique Silver Véronique Silver ... La mère de Janine
Jean Lescot Jean Lescot ... Le père de Janine
Geneviève Mnich Geneviève Mnich ... La mère de René
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Storyline

Prof. Henri Laborit uses the stories of the lives of three people to discuss behaviorist theories of survival, combat, rewards and punishment, and anxiety. René is a technical manager at a textile factory and must face the anxiety caused by corporate downsizing. Janine is a self-educated actress/stylist who learns that the wife of her lover is dying and must decide to let them reunite. Jean is a controversial career-climbing writer/politician at a crossroads in life. Written by Dragomir R. Radev <radev@cs.columbia.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

17 December 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mi tío de América See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Quotes

La mère de Janine: I have a right to slap my own daughter!
See more »

Connections

Edited from The Possessors (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A brilliant example of using narrative to bring abstract ideas alive
14 March 1999 | by solace-3See all my reviews

This film was made with the cooperation of psychologist Henri Laborit. It's broken down, like a greek drama, into narrative episodes and odes where the chorus, in this case psychologist Laborit, explains the meaning of the episodes. I love this movie because it makes clear the pretenance to everyday life of a discourse which is very rich as an interpretation of life, in exactly Matthew Arnold's sense, but at the same time so abstract that most people just, for example, reading Laborit's "Decoding the human message" would not see the immediate relevance of what was being said to their own daily concerns. I use this film to teach psychology. I open my intro class with it every term. Learning to read this film is learning to think like a psychologist. In the film, we cut from scenes of the human characters involved in various relationships to Laborit showing how lab rats react to stress under various conditions. The result is not dry or pedantic but funny as hell. It comes off as the rats doing a low burlesque of the human comedy. We also see the characters as children and as adults and scenes from various formative episodes along the way. When Laborit says "a person is a memory which acts" it seems a powerful commentary on what we are seeing on screen. We see one character as a tiny girl interacting with her factory worker father. He is a communist and he is teaching his newly articualte baby girl to repeat after him "USA go home". Watching this, I remember being taught to sing "Jeusus loves me" shortly after I started talking. This film is funny and wonderful dealing with the thing which matters most of all, the question of what it means to be a person.


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