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Mon Oncle Antoine [2 Discs] [Special Edition] [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1971]

Claude Jutra's emotionally powerful story of a young man coming of age in a Quebec mining town in the 1940's, Mon Oncle Antoine has become a celebrated touchstone of French Canadian cinema, and the film has been given a definitive home video presentation with this DVD release from the Criterion Collection. Mon Oncle Antoine has been transferred to disc in its preferred widescreen aspect ratio of 1.66:1, letterboxed on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16x9 monitors. Michel Brault, the film's cinematographer, supervised and approved the transfer, and the results are beautiful, with Brault's camerawork achieving a scruffy realism that also finds room for a painterly use of light, shade and color, and it has been served well in this edition. The audio is presented in both the original French and an unintentionally comical dubbed English track; both have been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono and the fidelity is excellent. Optional English subtitles are also included. Disc one of this package contains the feature and the original theatrical trailer, while disc two includes a documentary produced for the Canadian television series On Screen on the making of Mon Oncle Antoine, another documentary, Clause Jutra: An Unfinished Story, a slightly pretentious but heartfelt exploration of the director's brilliant but troubled life and career, and A Chairy Tale, a short film Jutra directed in collaboration with Norman McLaren. And the booklet features an essay from film historian Andre Loiselle, who discusses the picture's place in the pantheon of Canadian cinema as well as providing background on the historical events that color the story. While Mon Oncle Antoine has been a staple of Canadian broadcasting and repertory cinemas for years, it's been little seen in the United States, and this release from Criterion allows Jutra's masterwork to be seen in a manner that truly celebrates its outstanding qualities.

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    Special Features

    • Disc One:
    • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director of photography Michel Brault
    • Optional English-dubbed soundtrack
    • Theatrical trailer
    • New and improved English subtitle translation
    • Disc Two:
    • On Screen!: "Mon Oncle Antoine," a 2007 documentary tracing the making and history of the film
    • Claude Jutra: An Unfinished Story, a 2002 documentary by Paul Baillargeon, featuring interviews with Brault, director Bernardo Bertolucci, and actors Geneviève Bujold and Saul Rubinek
    • A Chairy Tale, a 1957 experimental short co-directed by Jutra and Norman McLaren
    • Plus: a new essay by film scholar André Loiselle


    Mon Oncle Antoine
    French Canadian director and actor Claude Jutra enjoyed his greatest critical success with this evocative and loving (but unsentimental) look at a few memorable days in the life of a boy on the verge of manhood in a small Quebec mining community in the 1940's. Benoit (Jacques Gagnon) is an orphan just edging into his teens. He works part-time for Antoine (Jean Duceppe), his uncle who owns the local general store and moonlights as an undertaker; Antoine takes the boy under his wing for a few days while the shop is busy during the holiday rush. Benoit helps set up the store's annual Christmas window display, spies on the most beautiful woman in town (Monique Mercure) as she tries on some specially ordered lingerie, finds his feelings for teenage co-worker Carmen (Lyne Champagne) changing from indifference to attraction, and joins his friends for a snowball raid on the owner of the town's mining operation as he contemptuously distributes gifts to the poor. But when Benoit joins his uncle to collect the body of a boy who has recently died, he confronts mortality for the first time and comes to realize what sort of a man his uncle really is. Mon Oncle Antoine won eight Genie Awards (the Canadian Oscar) and was honored at seven international film festivals, but it wasn't until the film was broadcast on Canadian television that it was widely seen in its home country; since then, a poll of Canadian film writers named it the Best Canadian Film of all time in 1984, and similar polls in 1994 and 2004 found Mon Oncle Antoine still at the top of the list. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Claude Jutra
      Claude Jutra - Fernand, Clerk
    • Image coming soon
      Helene Loiselle - Mme. Poulin
    • Image coming soon
      Jacques Gagnon - Benoit
    • Image coming soon
      Lyne Champagne - Carmen
    • Image coming soon
      Jean Duceppe - Antoine

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