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Once a year the fair comes for one day to the little town 'Sainte-Severe-sur-Indre'. All inhabiters are scoffing at Francois, the postman, what he seems not to recognize. The rising of the flagstaff under his direction nearly leads into a catastrophy - but everybody tells him, how important his work is. Sneering up Francois continues in the evening of the festive day. Made drunk, some 'friends' persuade him to watch a short-movie in a tent. This film is a stunt-show, covered as 'The modern delivery-techniques of the US-post. Francois takes it serious, not recognizing being teased. Next day, after getting sober in a goods wagon, he reorganizes his own delivery-methods. He has not the equipment, as his ideals in the short-movie have, but using only his bicycle, he makes good, funny progresses. Written by
Christian Wenger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This first, non-Hulot comedy feature by France's Tati, who derives from the silent greats and can keep company with them too, centers on his gangly bicycling postman Francois, mingling with the many and varied denizens of a tiny, ancient French village. When the carnival comes to town, a tent cinema shows a movie of the hilariously high-tech, high-speed, muscleman American postmen, the insecure Francois first gets very drunk and then is seized with the urge to do his job very, very fast. Gentle, sharp-eyed, teeming with life, this isn't even regarded as one of his best, but after trying for years this screening finally brought me around to LOVING Tati. For one thing it's a love letter to bicycles, a sure sell for the surprisingly large Bike Week audience that came out to Cinecycle for this screening. For another thing there are more articulated personalities in this movie than there are in any dozen current releases; EVERYONE is acutely drawn, from the woman in the high window to the recurring character of the buzzing bug. It's a goddam tapestry of humanity, and as a result it's positively moving as well as laugh-out-loud funny. It's also very cinematic in spite of its antiquity, most obviously in some out-of-nowhere colorization, but also in compositions that pay off in a much less rigidly controlled way than any comparable American comedy - the good stuff is often happening in the corner of the frame, like a good Mad comic with a halo.
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