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Mon Oncle Antoine (The Criterion Collection)

14 customer reviews

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(Jul 08, 2008)
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The Criterion Collection
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(May 08, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

Claude Jutra's evocative portrait of a boy's coming of age in wintry 1940s rural Quebec has been consistently cited by critics and scholars as the greatest Canadian film of all time. Delicate, naturalistic, and tinged with a striking mix of nostalgia and menace, Mon oncle Antoine follows Benoit, as he first encounters the twin terrors of sex and death, and his fellow villagers, who are living under the thumb of the local asbestos mine owner. Set during one ominous Christmas, Mon oncle Antoine is a holiday film unlike any other, and an authentically detailed illustration of childhood's twilight.

Special Features

  • SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES: New restored high-definition digital transfer supervised and approved by director of photography Michel BraultOn-Screen: Mon oncle Antoine a 2007 documentary tracing the making and history of the filmClaude Jutra an Unfinished Story a 2002 documentary that attempts to unravel "the Jutra mystery" featuring interviews with Brault Bernardo Bertolucci actors Genevieve Bujold and Saul Rubinek. and actor-director Paule BaillargeonA Chairy Tale a 1957 experimental short codirected by Jutra and Norman McLarenTheatrical trailerOptional English-dubbed soundtrackNew and improved English subtitle translationPLUS: A new essay by film scholar Andre Loiselle

Product Details

  • Actors: Jacques Gagnon, Lyne Champagne, Jean Duceppe, Olivette Thibault, Claude Jutra
  • Directors: Claude Jutra
  • Writers: Claude Jutra, Clément Perron
  • Producers: Marc Beaudet
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Subtitled, Special Edition, Anamorphic, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: July 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00180R04K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,491 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mon Oncle Antoine (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By ALAIN ROBERT on September 29, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
MON ONCLE ANTOINE is about rural life and the coming of age of a teenage boy whose uncle is an embalmer.Slow moving but immensely rewarding;one can feel the director's tenderness for his characters.The film can be hard to appreciate if you don't speak FRENCH or don't know much about the aspects of rural life in QUEBEC and it's mentality..JUTRA the director, plays a little part in the general store.JEAN DUCEPPE who plays ANTOINE was a very well known actor in QUEBEC;he formed his own theater company in 1973 ... Along the way,the teenage boy also makes his sexual awakening in a funny voyeurism scene in which some women comes to the general store to renew their wardrobes.The film remains the director's most acclaim work.JUTRA sadly died of the ALZHEIMER disease in 1986.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cuthbert J. Twiddle on January 30, 2010
Format: DVD
I can't say this film makes the same stunning impression on me that it did the first time I saw it in a theatre (in 1971) but it's still an absolute gem! I looked for it on VHS for years in America to no avail, couldn't even find it on a couple of trips to Canada although I know it was released on VHS at one time there. When Image released it on DVD several years ago I of course immediately purchased it. That release wasn't bad but the Criterion version is far better. It's from a new high definition transfer in the proper widescreen aspect ratio (the Image version was full screen 4:3) and looks better than I remember it ever looking in theaters. The second disc contains a 2007 one hour documentary on the film itself as well as a 2002 feature length (82 minutes) documentary on director Claude Jutra, both made for Canadian television I believe. An early short by Jutra and the theatrical trailer are also included. Despite the usual Criterion premium price this edition is highly recommended if you love this film as much as I do...or even if you've never seen it and want to have a great movie experience. It's in French with or without English subtitles. A dubbed English track is also on the disc if you prefer that (I don't!).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jerry on February 25, 2010
Format: DVD
This film has consistently been voted as the greatest Canadian film ever made in various critics polls over the years. Revered New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael hailed it as a small masterpiece upon original release but it is the sort of slow, intimate, character-based drama that has never achieved the sort of wide appeal (outside of Canada) that more plot focused films have. Watching some of the supplementary material on the Criterion Collection disc, it is also clear that there are many cultural references in the film that will mean more to a Canadian (particularly a French Canadian) than to other viewers.

The film meanders amiably along, capturing in unhurried pace the life of rural 1940's Quebec, in this case an abestos mining town. The main characters are Benoit, an orphaned boy, the local undertaker Antoine and his assistant Fernand played by the director himself Claude Jutra.
Eventually the film reaches its big set-piece, a long, extended night sequence where Benoit and Antoine (covered in furs) must traverse the icy, snow covered landscape via sled to retrieve the body of a boy who has died at a farmhouse.

The director was hailed as the new savior of Canadian cinema at the time of release, but unfortunately never achieved the level of success later on that he did with this film. He mysteriously disappeared one winter and his body was discovered the following spring after the ice had thawed...a simple note attached, "My name is Claude Jutra".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Eyon on June 16, 2009
Format: DVD
Often voted Canada's greatest film... well... it's a damn good mood piece, anyway.

A splice of life story set in Québec of the 1940s, starting with seemingly random glimpses of life in an asbestos mining town as seen thru the eyes of a teenage boy. Then, halfway, it assumes something like a plot (which I found engrossing) before ending at a scene that doesn't tie things up neatly. In other words, an art house film.

Since I grew in a small town, I immediately felt immersed in the small town setting despite the cultural differences. I liked the natural look of the cinematography, the location shooting, the sense of improvisation in certain scenes and the use of non-actors -- even in a couple lead roles. Altho most of the vital roles were turned over to some very good French Canadian actors -- including the director himself -- Claude Jutra.

Despite the political turmoil in Québec at the time of the filming, the political overtones were reduced to mere hints. That may have been a lucky thing cuz the film now has a timeless quality.

Here's a rare opportunity to experience something of the nearby mystery that is Québéc.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ParrotSlave on January 2, 2011
Format: DVD
I am not going to recapitulate the plot or attempt to compete with other reviews; Ebert's is excellent, and another, at dvdtalk, gives an excellent discussion of political and other details that make the film more understandable.

What I find surprising is that no one seems to have realized that the director, Claude Jutra, seems to have made this film into what would turn out to be a play-within-a-play, the larger play being his own life, since, as in this movie, Jutra's own body disappeared in the winter, to be recovered later (in 1986). Jutra's death was presumably a suicide. The disappearance of the body was foreshadowed in this film, and the exact mode of death was described in one of his other films. In other words, I believe that he choreographed his own death.

The film has some fascinating touches, such as Benoit's irreverent boyishness being characterized by his jumping across the tops of church pews. The irony of the Lord's name being taken in vain while putting up Christmas decorations is outstanding. There they are in what amounts to a Godless company town, handling the decorations: "Careful with the Virgin Mary. She's touchy." The question about the figurine Jesus, "Where is Jesus?" is obviously being asked in reference to their family, or their entire community or perhaps mankind as a whole. The answer, "Ask the Holy Ghost, he knows everything," is appropriately irreverent: even the priest was drinking on the job there, so no human could answer the question.

What I did when watching this for the first time was to play it with the dubbed English at the same time as displaying the subtitles. The difference in the translations is interesting. One can get a better understanding of what was intended by comparing the two translations.
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