Mon Oncle D'Amerique

Screening on Film
Directed by Alain Resnais.
With Gérard Depardieu, Nicole Garcia, Roger Pierre.
France, 1980, 35mm, color, 126 min.
French with English subtitles.

Richard Roud characterized this work as “one of the greatest films about the human condition ever made.” The film’s engaging structure brings the theories of the French behavioral scientist Henri Laborit (who actually appears in the film to provide exegesis) together with the stories of three ordinary French citizens (each with a cinematic alter-ego): a Parisian actress, a media executive with political aspirations, and a farmer turned textile-plant director. Each responds to pressures, as Laborit’s theories would predict, through flight, struggle, or inhibition—and each takes solace in the hope that the proverbial “uncle” made good in America, and will come through to save the day. An unqualified commercial success, the film was awarded a special Critics’ Prize at Cannes.

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