My American Uncle (1980)

Directed by Alain Resnais

Prof. Henri Laborit uses the stories of the lives of three people to discuss behaviorist theories of survival, combat, rewards and punishment, and anxiety. René is a technical manager at a textile factory and must face the anxiety caused by corporate downsizing. Janine is a self-educated actress/stylist who learns that the wife of her lover is dying and must decide to let them reunite. Jean is a controversial career-climbing writer/politician at a crossroads in life.

Whilst I ultimately disagree with the film's breezily confident assertion that all our behaviour is, deep down, based entirely on fulfilling various "gratifications", this is a curiously explicit way of bringing this late-night dorm-room discussion into arthouse cinema. Quoting, quite literally, all of that black-and-white cinema reminds me somewhat of Guy Maddin's work.