Award winning Canadian film “Mon oncle Antoine” (1971) directed by Claude Jutra and starring Jacques Gagnon, Lyne Champagne, Jean Duceppe, Olivette Thibault and Claude Jutra himself in a important role.
The film is basically set in Quebec in the 1940s in a small mining town. Antoine (Jean Duceppe) has a small general store in the town with his family staying upstairs. He is also the town’s undertaker.
Benoit (Jacques Gagnon) is a young 15 year old nephew of the Antoine and helping them in their daily chores. Also staying with them is Carmen (Lyne Champagne) who is taken care of by them but she has a family and her dad comes to collect her monthly earnings. Benoit is smitten by Carmen.
Aunt Cecile (Olivette Thibault) has her own issues as she is childless and devoid of love. They have Bernaud (Claude Jutra) working with them in the store doing the accounts and other things and he has a thing for Cecile. Its a story of a small town life and more specifically of Antoine and his family. There are poignant moments in the film such as when Carmen’s father comes to collect her earnings.
The harsh life of a mining town, conservative people, very little social activity, the only social occasions being the funeral of somebody and amidst all these, Antoine with his drinking. They are asked to carry a body of a young kid from other town but while bringing back the body, it slips from their carriage and they are unable to put it back due to the drunken state of Antoine.
The story is told from the point of view of Benoit who sees everything what is happening around him with his young impressionable eyes. It is rated as one of the best movies in Canadian cinematic history. The acting of Jacques Gagnon as the young Benoit and Jean Duceppe as the uncle Antoine is quite good. They are the two main characters in the movie. Direction and cinematography is quite brilliant. IMDB 7/10