|Jacques Tati is one of the great comic icons of French cinema, a Gallic equivalent of Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton, whose works as director, writer, and actor are regarded fondly by audiences as well as harder-to-please critics (embraced by France’s intellectual elite as vanguard Modernist works). There is little to no dialogue in his movies, and the action, frenzied but tightly choreographed, is invariably set to a breezy musical score. In his films he used state-of-the-art technology to critique a society being smothered by automation and gadgetry.|
In a Paris that has been totally transformed into a soulless metropolis of glass and steel, Monsieur Hulot seems to have difficulty in coping with this new way of life. Contrast between “modern” efficiency and the stubborn messiness of reality! Nevertheless, no matter how inhuman their surroundings become, human beings will always remain human and, when they come together, can find a way to enjoy life (c.f. apocalyptic-funny restaurant sequence were “order” slowly disintegrate...). Tati attacks the modern world using humour, but he is the ultimate optimist, not a moralist.
The film that ruined Tati (rather than using Paris he built his own supermodernist ‘tativille’ artificial city)! A Painting come to life filmed by a director from an other planet! Shot on 70mm.
Tati sacrificed everything he had to make Playtime! He was years ahead of his time and his genius was not fully appreciated until after his death.
Mon Oncle (1958)
... at Villa Arpel (designed by Jacques Lagrange)