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Canada, 1970 (MIFF 1972)

Director: Claude Jutra

For Jacques, the general store was the cross-roads of life—a place where a boy could learn all that was needed for the way ahead—especially when his uncle was the storekeeper and also the village undertaker.

The film conveys many vignettes of village life in an asbestos mining area of Quebec during the 1940's; all the bitter-sweet nostalgia with which a man remembers the events that thrust him into manhood.

It is Christmas eve, the one time of the year when the mind closes its doors. For a few hours the villagers are able to forget their poverty and converge on the store for gossip and revelry. In the midst of it all is Oncle Antoine, ebullient and jovial as ever, while in the background his nephew is watching, absorbing all. But this night is to bring Jacques a sudden initiation into some of the harsher cruder realities of life—even tragedy and death.

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