Jan 5, 2016

10th January 2016; Tati's Mon Uncle

A film by Jacques Tati
1928/ France/117 mins/ Col
5.45 pm; 10th Jan 2016 / Perks Mini theater

Jacques Tati (1909-1982) only made six features and yet he ranks with the great silent clowns among masters of visual comedy. With Mon Oncle master comedian Jaquese Tati weaves a series of physical gags into a social commentary, creating a rich comedy that can be enjoyed both by casual and intellectual audience. 

For Tati the joke is almost more about the setup than the payoff. Each gag has a meticulous setup that makes the joke all the richer "Mon Oncle" is halfway a silent film, with the dialogue sounding like an unexpected interruption in a library. The music is  simple, cheerful, like circus music while we're waiting for the clowns.

The hero of this tale is Tati’s signature character, Monsieur Hulot, also played by Tati. This small town man lacks grace but makes up for it in heart.  He is often seen in a brown fedora, a tan raincoat, a bow tie, too short pants, striped socks and with his long-stemmed pipe. He hardly ever says anything.

Mr. Hulot  is a lost soul, unemployed, bemused and confused by the modern world. His sister Madame Arpel lieves wants to  help him. She lives with her husband Monsieur Arpel and their young son Gerard n a futuristic architectural monstrosity, and a great deal of the movie's time is spent exploring their cold new world.

"Mon Oncle" introduces us casually to a large cast of local characters, including a street-sweeper who is perpetually in conversation and always means to use his broom but never does, and a produce vendor . There is a tender, subtle subplot involving Betty, the concierge's daughter. There's also a supporting cast of dogs, who are seen in the first shot and the last, and hurry on their doggy business in between. They don't have an important role in the plot; they're just there, checking things out, marking their territory.

Just reach back, take Mon Oncle's hand and head out around the block wherever you live. You never really know just what it is you'll discover on your next stroll through the neighborhood.  (Sorce : Internet) 

Jacques Tati

There are not many filmmaking legends whose entire output can be counted on the fingers of both hands, but this towering, graceful, pipe-puffing auteur, a comedic genius, achieved his reputation on the basis of just six feature films. His theme, his style, his mise-en-scène, all suggested the eternal struggle between Man and Machine; his was a kind of intricate slapstick in which characters found themselves at the mercy of progress, and his affinity for silent-screen comedy was mirrored in his own nearly total abstinence from dialogue (though his uses of natural sound and comic sound effects were nonpareil). In his first feature, Jour de Fete (1949), Tati played a village postman obsessed with modernizing his already-simple job. Four years later, in Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953), he introduced the umbrella toting, raincoat-clad Mr.Hulot. It was an international smash, and Hulot became Tati's screen alter ego for much of the remainder of his career.

In Mon Oncle (1958), Tati's first color film, Hulot is victimized by an automated house in which-you guessed-everything goes wrong. (It won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film.) He spent years working on Playtime (1967), shot on 70mm film, which pitted Hulot and a group of tourists against the high-tech vagaries of modern Paris, with an extended climax at the opening of a chi-chi restaurant where-that's right-everything goes wrong. Critics hailed it a masterpiece, but it was not a financial success, and a devastated Tati only made two more (small) films before retiring: Traffic (1972), with Hulot traveling to a modern auto show, and Parade (1974), a quasi-documentary showcasing French cabaret acts, with Tati recreating some of his old music-hall routines. He also made a gag cameo appearance as Hulot in Truffaut's Stolen Kisses (1968).  It's lamentable that he left behind so few films, but any five minutes of any of them is sufficient to restore his spirit. (Source: Internet)

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