Movie review of Jour de fete, starring Jacques Tati
I recently watched Jour de fete starring Jacques Tati, courtesy of TCM. I had heard of Jacques Tati, who people compare favorably with Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, but I’d never seen any of his films previously. Jour de fete was Jacques Tati’s first feature-length film, an expanded version of one of his short films. In a nutshell, a small carnival is coming to a small French village in the years after World War II; one of the attractions is a documentary film about the American postal service’s efficiency, which results in some good-natured joking with the local postal worker, played by Jacques Tati, who then tries to emulate American efficiency. With some humorous, inefficient results.
Jour de fete runs for about 1.5 hours. And the first two-thirds of the movie went very slowly, with my children (who were watching with me) repetitively asking “When will the movie be over?” There were some funny bits in the first hour of the film, but not nearly enough, and the pace seemed quite slow. The last half hour, however, was very funny, and redeemed itself. I rate it 2 out of 5 clowns.
Editorial Review of Jour de fete, courtesy of Amazon.com
Synopsis: In Jacques Tati’s charming — and essentially plotless — pre-Hulot first feature, Tati is Francois, a contented and happy postman in a small, unhurried French village. Francois is at ease with his job and leisurely performs his duties, peddling away on his rounds upon his beloved bicycle. Things perk up when a traveling carnival arrives in town. One of the attractions at the carnival is a film depicting the United States Postal Service’s fast and efficient postal delivery system. The narrator in the film exhorts, “Rapidite, rapidite.” Francois takes up the call, and attempts to Americanize his work style. – A joyful, almost silent comedy set in the French countryside. Francois, a village postman, zips through his rounds on his bicycle — the old-fashioned way. But when a traveling carnival comes to town, its proprietors show a film extolling the virtues of modern American mail delivery. Soon the townspeople start to wonder if Francois has fallen behind the times. But Francois is about to show everyone that he has a few tricks up his sleeveâ¦ and the villagers might just rue the day they ever started to complain!