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My American Uncle (1980)

Mon oncle d'Amérique (original title)
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 ... 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 »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$38,465
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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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

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 ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A fascinating, captivating film
2 April 2009 | by LCShackleySee all my reviews

What an odd way to start a film. We seem to be hearing a lecture about the brain, and human development, interspersed with introductions of several characters who don't seem to have much in common. But then Resnais starts working his magic, intertwining the stories of three people with the behavioral theories of Henri Laborit. Human behavior is compared to the behavior of lab rats, and even turtles and wild boars, and each new idea is illustrated in the lives of the main characters. And as an interesting third layer, each character has an "avatar" from classic French cinema; clips from their films are interspersed to comment on the action.

Too bizarre, you think? I thought so at first, but after awhile I was hooked. Fine performances, beautiful cinematography, and a captivating, multi-layered script makes this film an unforgettable experience.


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