S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
(aka 'My Uncle Antoine')
Claude Jutra's evocative portrait of a boy's coming of age in wintry 1940s rural Quebec has been consistently cited by critics and scholars as the greatest Canadian film of all time. Delicate, naturalistic, and tinged with a striking mix of nostalgia and menace, Mon oncle Antoine follows Benoit, as he first encounters the twin terrors of sex and death, and his fellow villagers, who are living under the thumb of the local asbestos mine owner. Set during one ominous Christmas, Mon oncle Antoine is a holiday film unlike any other, and an authentically detailed illustration of childhood’s twilight.
Theatrical Release: July 1971 - Moscow Film Festival
DVD Review: Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover
CLICK to order from:
|Criterion Collection - Spine #438 - Region 1 - NTSC
Average Bitrate: 8.58 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|French (Dolby Digital 1.0), DUB: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
"Mon oncle Antoine," a 2007 documentary tracing the making and history
of the film (47:20)
Image Entertainment came out with bare-bones, 1.33:1, single disc edition in May of 2001 HERE, although we don't own a copy to compare. The Criterion is advertised as 'New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director of photography Michel Brault'.
This dual-layered, anamorphic 1.66:1 ratio transfer looks pretty good - clean with decent colors and some strong detail in close-ups. Perhaps a small notch below what some might expect as 'Criterion standard' but consider the limited production values of the film and it is 37 years old. I still have no doubt that it is far in advance of the older Image Entertainment DVD.
As well as the original mono French audio, Criterion have included an optional English DUB. There are English subtitles available (sample below.)
Extras include a two minute 50 second theatrical trailer on the feature disc and three featurettes on the second DVD (also dual-layered). First is a 47 minute 2007-made documentary tracing the making and history of the film. It is entitled On-Screen: "Mon Oncle Antoine". There are interviews with star Monique Mercure, composer Jean Cousineau and cinematographer Michel Brault. Two residents of Black Lake, where the film was shot, are also interviewed alongside critics Martin Knelman, Piers Handling and Andre Loiselle who discuss the lasting impact of Mon Oncle Antoine on French-Canadian cinema. There is also an extensive 2002 documentary (1:22:12) by Paule Baillargeon entitled Claude Jutra: An Unfinished Story. It features interviews with Brault, director Bernardo Bertolucci, and actors Geneviève Bujold and Saul Rubinek. It's a very through and gentle portrait of director Claude Jutra. Finally there is a 10-minute experimental short co-directed by Jutra and Norman McLaren from 1957 entitled A Chairy Tale.
I've seen the film before and it's a wonderfully unique and touching drama. But this is the first time I've watched it in the, intended, 1.66 aspect ratio and looking as clean and clear as it does. The supplements are great especially the documentary Claude Jutra: An Unfinished Story which really gives great background on the director and establishes a further appreciation of this film. I will definitely revisit this come winter holidays and we endorse this Criterion DVD.