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Mon oncle Antonie

We watched a movie last night that has been on my list for some time now. Actually, since I skipped the class in my Québec Cinema Course when it was screened for us. It struck a cord with me as the area where I grew up still had this feeling of rural Québec, the church, and quiet hard labor lives (mainly farming, mining and factories) up until the early 1980’s. The landscape of the film is the Asbestos region. In winter— It looks like countryside almost anywhere in this province, snow being the great visual equalizer. The movie network was showing 5 re-mastered reels of Québec cinema and it showed. The color and sound were much better than some other NFB pieces i’ve seen from the time. Well worth watching if you can catch it.

“Mon oncle Antoine is a perceptive, subtle and emotionally devastating portrait of pre-Quiet Revolution Québec. Jutra traces the vast personal and political fissures about to tear open the rural Catholic heartland in Québec. The film’s episodic narrative structure and inspired use of landscape make this portrait of a sad, wintry town at the end of innocence unforgettable.” — source

“The film examines life in the Maurice Duplessis-era Asbestos region of rural Québec prior to the Asbestos Strike of the late 1940s. Set at Christmas time, the story is told from the point of view of a 15 year-old boy (Benoit, played by Jacques Gagnon) coming of age in a mining town. The Asbestos Strike is regarded by Québec historians as a seminal event that led to the Quiet Revolution. Jutra’s film, thus, is viewed as an examination of the social conditions in Québec’s old, agrarian, conservative and cleric dominated society that gave birth to the dramatic social and political changes that transformed the province a decade later. The film has twice been voted the greatest Canadian film ever in the Sight & Sound poll, which is conducted once each decade. It has been voted TIFF List of Canada’s Top Ten Films of All Time 3 out of 3 times.” — source

NFB/ONF site