7.9/10
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22 user 30 critic

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

Alain Resnais: [character name] Pierre Arditi's character is named Zambeaux. See more »

Quotes

René Ragueneau: Here. The recipe for rabbit à la moutarde.
La secrétaire de M. Louis: Thank you, Mr. René. Is it complicated?
René Ragueneau: Just don't use cream for mustard, and mustard for cream.
See more »

Connections

Edited from La belle équipe (1936) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Despite All My Rage I Am Still Just A Rat In A Cage
28 April 2009 | by loganx-2See all my reviews

Its a lot like a Greek Tragedy, except the chorus is supplemented by evolutionary psychologist and pharmacologist Henri Labroit explaining the actions of the characters in terms of his ideas concerning human and mammal behavior; consumption behavior, escape behavior, combat behavior, and inhibition behavior. We trace the lives of three characters from birth through childhood, and into the drama of their adult lives. Their adult lives are full of struggles with career, family, relationships, intersecting at times, but only as dramatic as real life allows. Its the way Alain Resnais constructs the stories that makes them fascinating. We observe them largely as a scientist might, in terms of parents, environment, traits, and habits. At one point Labroit discusses shock experiments done on mice, in later scenes we flash back to the characters who have giant mouse heads, the effect is startling and funny, at once. The most complex human emotions are rendered as functions of the animal brain, human relationships are as simple as mice being given aversion therapy, or as complex, depending on how you look at it. Labroit and Resnais seems at odds at times, about the miraculousness and simplicity of it all, but it helps to make the movie more dynamic. Its educational and informational as a science documentary, but the drama is so well entergrated the intellectual stimulation is offset, by a real sense of attachment and catharsis for and with the characters. The problems of their lives are those everyone experiences, Gerard Depardieu is a devout catholic, raised on a farm, who works at a factory and is struggling with being downsized. Nicole Garcia is raised by communist parents, and becomes an actress and later a stylist, having an affair with the married...Roger Pierre, the head of the French Ministry of Radio, raised by an affluent family, who longs to write a book about the history of the sun. I've only seen two Resnais films, "Hiroshima Mon Amour" and "Last Year At Marienbad"(which I fell asleep while watching twice), and this is somewhere between the emotional fallout of the first and the experimental daring of the later, but its my favorite of the three. An enthralling, fascinating, and profound film, that's as emotionally disarming as it is intellectually engaging. Visually it's stunning as well. The final image of the Forest mural on the building speaks volumes. I need more Resnais in my life.


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