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 ... See full summary »
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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 <email@example.com>
This movie will undoubtedly not be what you expect. The cover-art of Tati DVDs paints him as a Chaplin-esquire figure, but he's much gentler than Charlie. Charlie was energetic. You'll enjoy Tati's films if you expect a gentle trip to a beautiful little village. Throughout the film you observe more than get really involved. Tati always keeps you at a distance, like a stranger.
I liked Mon Oncle the best first run through, but by that stage it was the fourth of Tati's major four pictures I'd seen, so that must have coloured my impression. The most famous is Les Vacances de M. Hulot, and M. Hulot is Tati's famous character, who appears in Mon Oncle, Les Vacances and Playtime. He doesn't appear in Jour de Fete, which was Tati's first first feature-length.
Tati is the Antonioni of slapstick comedy. There's plenty to look at in his movies, as long as you stop waiting for a narrative. None of them have real stories. They do progress, but its more the visual motifs of the various townspeople that develop throughout.
Of the four I'd say Playtime is the least friendly to first-timers.
All copies of Jour de Fete since 1995 feature the imperfect colour process it was filmed with. Its not colourised, that's just the best colour method that Tati had at his disposal in 1949 in France. Even after restoration it suffers from over-brightening and unevenness in colour, and the overall impression is of a bad colourisation, so just be ready for that, and remember this colour version wasn't available until 1995, before that there was no colour, and I think the colour's an important part of the experience of Tati's fete.
I'd recommend you rent/borrow before buying any Tati, so you know what you're getting. Probably youtube won't be the best place: any small segment of his films won't make sense on its own, they're quite slow-paced, and the characters and scenes are meant to accumulate, not be excerpted.
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