In a nutshell, Jacque Tati’s Monsieur Hulotâs Holiday (1953) is a hilariously funny movie from start to finish. The plot, to be polite, is sparse – the clownish Mr. Hulot goes on vacation to the seaside. That’s it. What makes this French film so funny (the original French title is Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot,) is the constant visual humor. The humor typically (but not exclusively) centered on Jacques Tati’s title character, Monsieur Hulot – a genial, slightly dimwitted character, who often causes chaos without being aware of it.
For instance (more…)
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. (more…)
Mon Oncle – Criterion Collection (1958)
Mon Oncle is a comedy by Jacques Tati, starring his clown character M. Hulot. Set in France, there is very little dialog, removing the problem of any language barrier for those of us who aren’t fluent in French. Mon Oncle is a satire on modern life, contrasting the strict, sterile “modern” life with the older, slower lifestyle. It also provides a vehicle for M. Hulot to work his comedy magic in; it’s a different style of comedy, taking time to set the scene and characters in order to amplify the (visual) punchline. (more…)