Mon oncle Antoine

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Mon oncle Antoine
Mon oncle Antoine poster.jpg
Directed byClaude Jutra
Written byClaude Jutra
Clément Perron
Produced byMarc Beaudet [fr]
StarringJacques Gagnon
Jean Duceppe
Olivette Thibault
Lionel Villeneuve
Claude Jutra
CinematographyMichel Brault
Edited byClaire Boyer
Claude Jutra
Music byJean Cousineau
Distributed byNational Film Board of Canada
Janus Films
Release date
  • November 12, 1971 (1971-11-12)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryCanada
LanguageFrench
BudgetCDN$750,000

Mon oncle Antoine ([mɔ̃‿nɔ̃kl ɑ̃.twan], "My Uncle Antoine") is a 1971 National Film Board of Canada (Office national du film du Canada) French-language drama film. Canadian director Claude Jutra co-wrote the screenplay with Clément Perron and directed one of the more acclaimed works in Canadian film history.

The film examines life in the Maurice Duplessis-era Asbestos Region of rural Québec before the Asbestos Strike of 1949. Set at Christmas time, the story is told from the point of view of a 15-year-old boy (Benoît, played by Jacques Gagnon) who is coming of age in a mining town. The Asbestos Strike is regarded by Québec historians as a seminal event in the years before the Quiet Revolution (c. 1959–1970).

Jutra's film is an examination of the social conditions in Québec's old, agrarian, conservative and cleric-dominated society on the eve of the social and political changes that transformed the province a decade later.[1]

Plot[edit]

Benoît is a young teenage boy living in rural Quebec. He works at the town general store belonging to his aunt Cécile and his uncle Antoine, who is also the town undertaker. On December 24, he begins work, setting up the store display much to the delight of the town and flirting with Carmen, the young girl whom his uncle and aunt employ, and treat as an adopted child.

Madame Jos Poulin's eldest son, Marcel, dies that day, and she places a call to the store asking if Antoine can come to take care of the body. For the first time, Benoît is allowed to go with him. After they load the body into a coffin, they prepare to take it home. However, on the way home, Benoît encourages the horse to run as quickly as possible causing the coffin to fall off the sleigh. He tries to get Antoine to help put the coffin back on the sleigh; however, Antoine who has been steadily drinking throughout the day is unable to lift the coffin. He confesses to Benoît that he hates dealing with the dead bodies and that he is miserable in his life, wishing that he had achieved his dream of owning a hotel in the U.S. as he had wanted. He confesses that, although he treats Benoît and Carmen like his own, he regrets that his wife was unable to give him children.

Angry with Antoine, Benoît manages to get him back in the sleigh and returns home. He runs up the stairs to get help from his aunt and discovers her embracing Fernand, the help, in her nightgown. Realizing what has happened, Fernand takes Benoît out in the sleigh to look for the body. Traumatized by seeing his aunt and Fernand together, Benoît is no help in remembering where the coffin fell off the sleigh. Eventually they make it back to the Poulin household where they find the entire Poulin family, including Jos, the father, who had been away working, around the coffin mourning the loss of Marcel.

Cast[edit]

  • Jacques Gagnon as Benoît
  • Lyne Champagne as Carmen
  • Jean Duceppe as Uncle Antoine
  • Olivette Thibault as Aunt Cécile
  • Claude Jutra as Fernand, Clerk
  • Lionel Villeneuve as Jos Poulin
  • Hélène Loiselle as Madame Poulin
  • Mario Dubuc as Poulin's son
  • Lise Brunelle as Poulin's daughter
  • Alain Legendre as Poulin's son
  • Robin Marcoux as Poulin's son
  • Serge Evers as Poulin's son
  • Monique Mercure as Alexandrine
  • Georges Alexander as The Big Boss
  • Rene Salvatore Catta as The Vicar

Critical acclaim[edit]

The film has twice been voted the greatest Canadian film in the Sight & Sound poll, conducted once each decade. The Toronto International Film Festival placed it first in the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time three times.

This film has been designated and preserved as a masterwork by the Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada, a charitable non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the preservation of Canada’s audio-visual heritage.[2]

It was featured in the TV series Canadian Cinema, which aired on CBC Television in 1974.[3]

On 8 July 2008, The Criterion Collection released a special two-disc collector's edition of the film.[4]

On 23 December 2008, Roger Ebert put Mon Oncle Antoine on his Great Movies list.[5]

The film was selected as the Canadian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 44th Academy Awards, but was not chosen as a nominee.[6] It was entered into the 7th Moscow International Film Festival.[7]

Accolades[edit]

This film has won numerous awards, in Canada and internationally, including [8]

  • Chicago International Film Festival: Gold Hugo for Best Feature Film, Silver Hugo for Best Screenplay, November 5 to 20, 1971, Chicago
  • Canadian Film Awards: Feature Film, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Actor (Jean Duceppe), Supporting Actress (Olivette Thibault), Musical Score, Overall Sound, October 1, 1971, Toronto
  • Hemi Award: Best Direction, Best Actress, Best role by a teenager, February 9 to 11, 1976, San Antonio
  • Toronto International Film Festival: Best Canadian Film, September 6 to 15, 1984, Toronto

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ellerman, Evelyn. "Mon Oncle Antoine Commentary". Canadian Film Online. Athabasca University. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  2. ^ http://avtrust.ca/masterworks Archived 2011-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Corcelli, John (August 2005). "Canadian Cinema". Canadian Communications Foundation. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  4. ^ "Mon oncle Antoine". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Mon Oncle Antoine Movie Review (1971) | Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  6. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  7. ^ "7th Moscow International Film Festival (1971)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  8. ^ National Film Board of Canada, Government of Canada (2012-10-11). "Mon oncle Antoine". National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 2019-05-22.

External links[edit]