Mon Oncle D'Amerique
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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).Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant. Not only entertaining, but entertaining for the brain. I finished this movie knowing more than I did before. Why can't we have movies like this in the U.S. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Anton Holden
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 on February 22, 2013 by renee van couyghen
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 morePublished on January 24, 2012 by Herbert L Calhoun
Advances in neuroscience have made this film's weird mix of behaviorism, Freudianism and Foucault laughably obsolete. Read morePublished on June 16, 2011 by Fortune R. Elkins
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 morePublished on January 3, 2011 by Scott Benkel
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 morePublished on March 13, 2010 by Martushka
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 morePublished on November 24, 2009 by doctor rocket
I'm not usually that big a fan of Resnais' films, but this dissection of middle class France circa 1980 is quite engaging. Read morePublished on December 25, 2007 by Andres C. Salama
"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 morePublished on August 11, 2006 by Alex Udvary
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