My American Uncle
|My American Uncle|
Theatrical release poster (artwork: Enki Bilal)
|Directed by||Alain Resnais|
|Produced by||Philippe Dussart|
The didactic film is built around the ideas of French physician, writer and philosopher Henri Laborit, who plays himself in the film. It uses the stories of three people to illustrate Laborit's theories on evolutionary psychology regarding the relationship of self and society.
René leaves the family farm to become an executive at a French textile firm. Janine leaves her proletarian family behind to become an actress who becomes involved with Jean, a well-educated bourgeois writer/politician. All three characters face difficult choices in life-changing situations that are designed to illuminate Laborit's ideas.
Henri Laborit illustrates our 3 reactions to stressful environments (fight, flight, and inhibition), using lab rats, which illustrate the story line of the film. Simple animals have a reptilian brain, concerned with sleep, appetite, and sex. More sophisticated animals also have an associative brain which remembers behaviors that lead to outcomes. All creatures strive for equilibrium, or homeostasis, in their environments, which manifest as controlling behaviors in the characters of the film.
- Gérard Depardieu as René Ragueneau
- Nicole Garcia as Janine Garnier
- Roger Pierre as Jean Le Gall
- Nelly Borgeaud as Arlette Le Gall
- Pierre Arditi as Zambeaux
- Gérard Darrieu as Léon Veestrate
- Philippe Laudenbach as Michel Aubert
- Marie Dubois as Thérèse Ragueneau
- Henri Laborit as himself
Awards and honors
The film won the Grand Prix and the FIPRESCI prizes at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival, and Henri Laborit and Jean Gruault's screenplay was nominated at the 53rd Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay.
The film features in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.
- "Festival de Cannes: Mon oncle d'Amérique". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
- My American Uncle on IMDb
- My American Uncle at Rotten Tomatoes
- Mon Oncle D'Amérique at The New York Times
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