Once a year the fair comes for one day to the little town 'Sainte-Severe-sur-Indre'. All inhabitants are scoffing at Francois, the postman, what he seems not to recognize. The rising of the...
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Monsieur Hulot curiously wanders around a high-tech Paris, paralleling a trip with a group of American tourists. Meanwhile, a nightclub/restaurant prepares its opening night, but it's still under construction.
A boxer is out in the country with his entourage, training for his next fight. Meanwhile, on the farm nearby, Roger is neglecting his chores. As he watches the boxer and his sparring ... See full summary »
Once a year the fair comes for one day to the little town 'Sainte-Severe-sur-Indre'. All inhabitants 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>
The color version is certainly a revelation and much to be preferred to the murky black-and-white sub-titled print I saw on original theatrical release. Actually sub-titles are not really necessary at all. Even born-and-bred Parisians would have difficulty penetrating the heavy provincial accents of the villagers. Furthermore, much of the dialogue is deliberately mumbled, slurred or made indecipherable by background noise. The only stretch of speech that is clearly heard is the narration of the tent movie and its information could easily be picked up by simply watching the visuals. Even an ability to understand the old lady (she is supposed to be a native but has an incongruous Parisian accent) who acts as a narrator to tie the various segments together is not at all important.
So what we actually have here is pure pantomime that is given added realism by being filtered through an aural surround. Tati is the perfect clown who makes the most of a succession of clever gags that are superbly timed and all the more enjoyable because of their insight into the mores and customs of the little village. In fact as a revelation of village life with all its atmosphere, its interplay, its horseplay, its petty quarrels, its come-and-go tensions, the movie is second to none.
The support characters too have a wonderful part to play in the action, whether professional players like Frankeur, Beauvais and Decomble or simple villagers like Vallée and Wirtz who never made another movie in their lives.
The beautiful music score lends further enchantment to the pastel colors of Tati's immaculately chosen locations.
All told, a little masterpiece and a fitting herald to Tati's best and most celebrated movie, Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953).
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