By People Staff
February 09, 1981 12:00 PM

In this, his ninth feature film, Alain Resnais, the controversial French director behind Last Year at Marienbad and Hiroshima Mon Amour, again proves his mastery at observing human behavior. His story centers on three people facing crises. Gerard Depardieu is a textile plant manager about to lose his job, Jean Le Gall is an ambitious politician who can’t decide between his wife and a mistress, and Nicole Garcia is the mistress (and a failed actress). The performances are finely tuned, as is the screenplay by Jean Gruault, who wrote François Truffaut’s Jules and Jim. But most interesting is Resnais’ insertion of excerpts from an actual interview with Henri Laborit, a French biologist. Laborit theorizes that human behavior is as predictable as a laboratory rat’s, and the parallels are hilariously worked out by Resnais. The title (“My Uncle from America”) refers to a common European fantasy about an uncle who makes a fortune in the U.S., then returns home to solve everyone’s problems. The richly developed theme of the movie is that reality is not so simple as myth. (In French with English subtitles) (Not rated)

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