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Mon Oncle d’Amerique

Posted by martinteller on October 9, 2010

Another strikingly unique film by Alain Resnais.  The psychologist Henri Labroit explains an assortment of theories and principles regarding the human brain and instincts and survival mechanisms, while the interactions between Gerard Depardieu, Nicola Garcia and Roger Pierre illustrate the concepts.  It’s not as clinical or high-concept as it sounds, and actually works as both an unusual narrative technique and as a drama.  Resnais uncharacteristically even manages to inject some humor in the proceedings, as in the characters re-enacting scenes as lab rats.  Another light-hearted, clever touch is how classic film footage is used to associate Depardieu with Jean Gabin and Garcia with Jean Marais.  Certainly not by accident, Pierre’s character is named Jean, and the three represent different coping strategies and different levels of consciousness.  It’s all pretty fascinating and succeeds quite well.  However, the cinematography is generally disappointing, especially coming from a master like Sacha Vierny.  Rating: 8


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