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My American Uncle (1980) Poster

Quotes

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Henri Laborit: We now begin to understand by what mechanism, why and how, throughout history and in the present, the hierarchies of dominance have been established. To go to the moon, we must know the laws of gravity. Knowing the laws of gravity doesn't make us free of gravity. It merely allows us to utilize it. Until we have shown the inhabitants of this planet the way their brain functions, the way they use it, until they know it has always been used to dominate others, there is little chance that anything will change.

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Henri Laborit: [First lines] A being's only reason for being is being. In other words, to maintain its organic structure. It must stay alive. Otherwise, there is no being.

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Janine Garnier: What's that?

Jean Le Gall: Pictures and documentation for a book I've wanted to write. But with the wife, the children...

Janine Garnier: A book?

Jean Le Gall: About the sun. The history of the sun. Men's ideas about the sun since the dawn of time.

Janine Garnier: A Renaissance man. You told me you wanted to be Prime Minister. Now you are writing a book.

Jean Le Gall: They're not incompatible. In fact, they go together. Think of Blum, Herriot, Edgar Faure or Pompidou.

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Janine Garnier: Don't worry. I won't steal your memories.

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Jean Le Gall: I was sure a treasure chest was buried here. I got a shovel, and I dug and I searched for days on end. I kept hearing about an uncle who'd gone off to America. I was sure he'd come back to tell me where it was. For me, he was the Gold King, my uncle in America. I'm still searching.

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Janine Garnier: Like most people, I thought happiness was something I had coming to me. Like an inheritance... from an uncle in America.

Zambeaux, le représentant de la direction générale à Paris: America doesn't exist. I should know. I lived. there.

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Thérèse Ragueneau: I don't want to leave. I like it here. The house is almost paid for. I'm used to my job. I get along with the staff. There are good schools for the kids, a university nearby! All down the drain to go back to that hole?

René Ragueneau: You remind me of my father! If we talked about change, he talked about his uncle in America!

Thérèse Ragueneau: He died a bum!

René Ragueneau: That's what my father said! It was never proved!

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Henri Laborit: From infancy... the survival of the group is linked to teaching a youth what he must know to function in society. We teach him not to soil his pants, and to pee in his potty. Then very rapidly, we teach the child how to behave so as to maintain the cohesion of the group. We teach him what is beautiful, what is good, what is bad, what is ugly. We tell him what he must do and punish or reward him accordingly, no matter what his own pleasure dictates. He is punished or rewarded according to whether his behavior conforms to the survival need of the group.

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Henri Laborit: The unconscious is a formidable instrument. Not only because it holds all that we have repressed, things too painful for us to express, because we'd be punished by society. But also because all that is authorized, even rewarded by society, has been placed in our brain since birth. We're unaware of its presence, and yet it guides our actions. This unconscious, not the Freudian unconscious, is the most dangerous. What we call the personality of an individual is built up from a grab bag of value judgments, prejudices and platitudes. As he grows older, they become more and more rigid, less and less subject to question. Take away one single stone from this edifice, and it all crumbles. The result is anguish. And anguish stops at nothing, neither murder, nor genocide, nor war, to express itself.

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Narratrice: [Describing Jean Le Gall] Says he has be faithful to only one woman, Danielle Darrieux, his idol since childhood.

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Narratrice: [Describing Janine Garnier] After seeing Jean Marais on stage, wants to be an actress but runs into family opposition.

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Narratrice: [Describing Janine Garnier] Reads Prévert, Aragon, Alexandre Dumas and Michel Zevaco. Never misses a cloak and dagger movie on TV.

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Narratrice: [Describing René Ragueneau] Likes soccer, cooking, operettas, and all movies starring Jean Gabin, which he sees over and over.

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Janine Garnier: At school I loved to clown around. I nearly got expelled. I heard Sacha Guitry was expelled six times, so I was proud. But Papa said he was a reactionary.

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Jean Le Gall: Everyone in my family had ideas about what I should read. Grandfather favored Jules Verne. Father, the lives of French heroes: Lyautey, Père de Foucauld. Mother's choice was Racine's tragedies, which she adored. Instead of these masterpieces, I read adventure stories perched in a tree. "The lad left the car and entered with confident step. Tall, strong, honest and bold, he was none other than the Gold King, Samuel Knight, orphan and millionaire who in the true American way, on this August 1, 1914, was giving a party at a restaurant to celebrate his 18th birthday."

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Henri Laborit: Above all, we must come to recognize that what affects our nervous system, starting at birth, perhaps even in the womb - the stimuli acting upon our nervous system come essentially from others. We are nothing but others.

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Henri Laborit: We can compare the unconscious to a deep sea. And what we call consciousness is the foam that appears sporadically on the crest of the wave. It is the most superficial part of that sea, buffeted by the wind.

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

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Jean-Marie Laugier, le metteur en scène: She is not a vamp and you are not Gaby Morlay!

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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.

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Arlette Le Gall: Jean, think it over! Do anything you like. I won't say a word, but stay! Stay! What do I have to do, kneel down? Grovel at your feet? Is that what you want? No! No, you won't leave! You'll have to hit me. Go on, hit me! You know you're dying to!

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Janine Garnier: Did you bring your whole library?

Jean Le Gall: The problem of the wayward intellectual: what to take? Balzac or Stendhal? Lenin or Trotsky?

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Mme Veestrate: Mmmm. It's wonderful! How do you make it?

René Ragueneau: It's fairly complicated. Roast the birds till three-fourths done. Take the skins, carcass, gizzards, all the innards. Chop finely and make a sauce, using diced onions, thyme, et cetera, with hot cognac, mushrooms and croutons. The big secret with woodcock is the intestines. I add them at the last minute, for more flavor.

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Janine Garnier: I've always loved to try new things. You're shocked?

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Henri Laborit: There is no proprietary instinct. Nor is there any instinct to dominate. The individual's nervous system has simply learned the necessity of keeping for the individual's own use, an object or person that is also desired, coveted by someone else. And he knows from experience that in the competition to keep that object or that person for himself, he must dominate.

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Janine Garnier: You read "The Gold King" up there?

Jean Le Gall: No. You missed. My reading place was the top of a tree. I'll show you. I was forbidden to climb trees. Since they trusted me - mistakenly - they never looked for me up there. It was great. All I could see was sky.

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Jean Le Gall: Only you and I know these awesome secrets.

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Henri Laborit: We have already said that we are nothing but others. A boy in the wild, abandoned far from other people, will not grow up to be a man. He'll never know how to walk or talk. He'll behave like a little animal. Through language, man has been able to pass on to succeeding generations, all the experience that has accumulated over millions of years. The time is long past when a person could ensure his own survival. He needs others in order to live.

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Le père de Janine: Repeat after me: "U.S. go home!"

Janine adolescente: U.S. go home!

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Henri Laborit: When we can't take out our aggressions on others, we can still take it out on ourselves.

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Zambeaux, le représentant de la direction générale à Paris: Times have changed.

René Ragueneau: Not for the better, monsieur! Not for the better!

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Zambeaux, le représentant de la direction générale à Paris: An hors d'oeuvre?

Janine Garnier: Not for me, but have the rillette. It's a specialty here in Anjou.

Zambeaux, le représentant de la direction générale à Paris: You just want the pike a beurre blanc, Me, too.

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Zambeaux, le représentant de la direction générale à Paris: They had to dine out so often that now all his wife can stomach is tea and toast. But his mistress has a secret recipe for spaghetti carbonara.

Janine Garnier: Can't his wife make spaghetti?

Zambeaux, le représentant de la direction générale à Paris: Heretic! Carbonara is an art! First, the eggs mustn't curdle - You're not listening.

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