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Mon Oncle D'Amerique (1980)

Gérard Depardieu , Nicole Garcia , Alain Resnais  |  PG |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gérard Depardieu, Nicole Garcia, Roger Pierre, Nelly Borgeaud, Pierre Arditi
  • Directors: Alain Resnais
  • Writers: Henri Laborit, Jean Gruault
  • Producers: Christian Lentretien, Philippe Dussart
  • Format: Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 28, 2000
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004U1FB
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,951 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mon Oncle D'Amerique" on IMDb

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
There are certain directors whose films can survive even the worst video transfers, and Resnais is one of them. Not that New Yorker Video should not be chastized for giving us yet another scandalously poor video and audio transfer of a classic film. Rather, one should not let the poor DVD quality deter one from buying this DVD, as Resnais' MON ONCLE d'AMERIQUE is masterful and argueably the director's greatest achievement. To be completely honest, in my humble opinion Resnais is the greatest living director. For what it is worth, I have seen everyone of his feature films, including everything in the 80s and 90s, and I find this picture to be the most compelling. Having carried out his most rigorous investigation of the time and memory of personal consciousness in "Je T'aime, Je T'aime," Resnais' work in the 70s undergoes a gradual shift in emphasis toward a time and memory belonging to community. At the risk of sounding overly reductive, one might locate the decisive moment of this shift in "Providence," in which the radically subjective, stream of consciousness narrative is completely undermined in the film's epilogue. In reflecting on Mon Oncle d'Amerique, I think it is paramount that one sees the film in the context of this decisive shift (which is not to say that Resnais simply abandons his earlier project). The film produces some of the most extraordinary images of time and memory reconfigured from the standpoint of community, and argueably marks the director's crowning achievement. One need look no further than the opening sequence in which a camera circles around a canvas comprised of still shots from scenes in the film, such that already at the film's outset the viewer is confronted with an image of the whole. Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The erratic behavior of the human... August 26, 2005
Resnais' penchant for film as cognitive experience first and foremost here comes to the fore, although emotion is certainly on display as well. The three main characters of the film--an actress turned fashion industry stylist (Nicole Garcia), a media executive (Roger Pierre), and a textile middle manager (Gerard Depardieu)--all undergo changes in their lives that intertwine with the theories of human behavior put forth by Professor Henri Laborit, a famed French psychologist and scientist, who plays himself in the film.

Bearing in mind that the film was made in 1980 and that psychological theory has advanced significantly since then--largely founded on one after another breakthroughs in neurobiology/neurophysiology--this is nevertheless an entertaining piece of cinema whose theme is really how we respond to external circumstances--specifically, those that could potentially be very stressful.

For some people, a specific circumstance will be manageable; for others, it will be tremendously stressful. In this film, all three main characters respond to various experiences as very stressful ones, and consequently exhibit behaviors reflecting that: attempted suicide, psychosomatic illness, emotional outbursts. Laborit comments on the reason for this stress, which is primarily the inability to dominate (i.e., control) a situation. Regardless of new discoveries in neurophysiology, his statement is absolutely true, and Resnais fuses Laborit's voiceover discussion with interrelated events in the lives of the three main characters that illustrate the scientist's words.

Once in a while, Resnais gives human characters the heads of white lab rats to wittily capture Laborit's points (not for long; just a few seconds or so).
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Yorker Does well by Resnais December 5, 2000
Finally! An affordable New Yorker home release! One of Alain Resnais' more accessible - and funny - films, "Mon Oncle d'Amerique" is also one of his last to find an American distributor. The transfer is less than scintillating, with a picture earning maybe a 2 or a 3 (5 being the highest rating), and the sound getting a 2 or lower. But New Yorker has "enhanced" the subtitles, making them yellow and enormous. Since this is a talkative movie, the subtitles often threaten to subsume the entire picture. But until Criterion deigns to remaster it (with optional subtitles), this is the best we could ask for.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Resnais' best film as far as I know. January 27, 2001
I haven't seen 'Smoking and Non-Smoking' and not that singing film he did recently, but otherwise I'm pretty well informed about Resnais and amongst his other work I rank this film as being his best.
It lacks many of the 'arty' touches, that Resnais otherwise and most regrettfully endulges in. This one tells it to you straight - most people live lives that resembles what rats do in captivity or otherwise. The comparison is most amusing but there is a very serious side to it as well. In the end Resnais states: "As long as we do not realize that we use the cortex of our brains chiefly in order to dominant others, then nothing can change." Power'full' (powerless really, since directed against power) words indeed.
People break their necks in order to fit in or make a career, which in truth is as rediculous as when Stan Laurel speaks of it in that wonderful short "Their First Mistake". When will this madness of competition between people cease in order to leave room for a competition directed towards your own ability to enhance your consciousness instead? When will competition for competitions sake alone cease, a competition which does not even care about what it is competing about, as, for instance, present competition of market economy, which is just a competition about the 'skills' of cheating one another? That is the question and Resnais doesn't have the answer but at least he poses the question.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Foreign Films
I love French films and Gerard D. The camera shots don't jump around like American Films. Allows time to take in the environment, creating a memorable experience.
Published 16 months ago by renee van couyghen
5.0 out of 5 stars A Parody of the American Workplace?
Winner of the 1980 foreign film award, this didactic film, by Alain, Renais, is based on case studies of the French physician, psychologist, behavioral scientist, writer and... Read more
Published on January 24, 2012 by Herbert L Calhoun
1.0 out of 5 stars Outdated and Unwatchably Cruel
Advances in neuroscience have made this film's weird mix of behaviorism, Freudianism and Foucault laughably obsolete. Read more
Published on June 16, 2011 by Fortune R. Elkins
1.0 out of 5 stars I GET IT! I GET IT!!
well....I am certainly in the minority here, but I did NOT like this movie--I do like movies that experiment with narrative structure and I like French movies in general,... Read more
Published on January 3, 2011 by Scott Benkel
5.0 out of 5 stars Roger Ebert wasn't wrong to include this among his top films
This movie has something of everything: witty humor, depth, and craft. The characters are developed well enough to elicit sympathy even while serving as similes for rats in cages. Read more
Published on March 13, 2010 by Martushka
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking
This is an amusing and thought-provoking film. Humans operate to dominate the space. At the end, the filmmaker pans across a desolate landscape, perhaps Dresden. Read more
Published on November 24, 2009 by doctor rocket
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Resnais
I'm not usually that big a fan of Resnais' films, but this dissection of middle class France circa 1980 is quite engaging. Read more
Published on December 25, 2007 by Andres C. Salama
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Are We?
"Mon Oncle d'Amerique" is a film that explores and tries to explain some very profound things. Who are we? What makes us do the things we do? Read more
Published on August 11, 2006 by Alex Udvary
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully intelligent movie
Fascinating, off-beat piece of filmmaking, brimming with intelligence rarely found in movies. Three storylines are traced and eventually come together, and involve a harried... Read more
Published on February 7, 2006 by Bomojaz
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible audio and video.
I don't know about the actual movie... The DVD audio is just awful -- imagine the distortion you get when the volume is set higher than cheap computer speakers can handle, now... Read more
Published on December 11, 2001
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