Director Alain Resnais connects three "case histories" in MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE, on odd, intellectually stimulating film that takes chances with narrative as it also works as a philosophical essay.
MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE employs the scientific theories of Henri Laborit to explain the actions of three disparate characters, Jean, Janine and Rene, who are first introduced in broad sketches. Jean Le Gall (Roger Pierre), a government official and family man, falls for Janine Garnier (Nicole Garcia)
an actress, who later changes her career and links up Rene Ragueneau (Gerard Depardieu) a textile plant manager and family man.
MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE presents an unusual narrative structure in that the three main characters are only completely linked by the last reel and even then only tenuously. With a nod to Balzac, Resnais and screenwriter Jean Gruault seems to be in sync with nouvelle vague "brother," Jean-Luc Godard,
whose concurrent 1980 "comeback" film, EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF uses a similar device. MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE punctuates the three characters' stories with Dr. Laborit's narration, which comments on brain functioning, the nervous system, and behavior types, in theories that sound like a blend of Freud,
Piaget, and Noam Chomsky.
Beyond the structure, however, MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE is less artistically adventurous than earlier Resnais work (HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR, LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD), where even his great cinematographer, Sacha Vierny, shoots in a comparatively conventional manner. Still, MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE neatly fits
into the Resnais ouevre. By establishing a near-Proustian concern for memory and the impact of social conditions on human behavior (ending with images of a war-torn city that go far outside the "story"), Resnais makes a moving and lasting, if downbeat, statement.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1980
- Rating: PG
- Review: Director Alain Resnais connects three "case histories" in MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE, on odd, intellectually stimulating film that takes chances with narrative as it also works as a philosophical essay. MON ONCLE D'AMERIQUE employs the scientific theories of He… (more)