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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.
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Charles Le Clainche,
Monsieur Hulot goes on a holiday to a seaside resort, but accidents and misunderstandings follow him where ever he goes. The peace and quiet of the hotel guests don't last very long with Hulot around, because although his intensions are good, they always turn out catastrophically. Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
The man being served a drink in the hotel wears a dark ascot; when the waiter gives him the drink, he is wearing a light-colored ascot. See more »
Mr. Hulot is off for a week by the sea. Take a seat behind his camera, and you can spend it with him. Don't look for a plot, for a holiday is meant purely for fun, and if you look for it, you will find more fun in ordinary life than in fiction.
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"Monsieur Hulot's Holiday" (literally "The Vacation of M. Hulot")
For me, one sign of a great movie is when scenes are so unforgettable that they replay again and again in my mind. By that standard, "M. Hulot's Holiday" is the funniest movie of all time.
I first saw this movie soon after it first appeared in the USA and thought at the time it would be a classic. Since then, the projector in my mind has replayed so many scenes so often that in the replaying it's grown even more hilarious. From time to time, I see it again and each time realize that -- as funny as the original is -- it has that rare quality of planting seeds which grow and blossom in my memory even more. Looking for an end on a snarled garden hose always replays Hulot and the garden sprinkler.
There is very little plot beyond 'what I did on my summer vacation' -- but there doesn't need to be. Through the movie there is an elderly couple who stroll, observing the follies, eccentricities, normalities, of the behaviors of people on a summer vacation. The film's perspective is that we are similar to them, strolling, observing -- and as if the film's opening and close coincide with the beginning and end of the traditional French August vacation.
I've also seen Jacque Tati's "Mon Oncle" several times; while it's good, to me it's several magnitudes lower than 'holiday.' I look forward to seeing "Playtime" with the sure knowledge that nothing can top "M. Hulot's Holiday." As with all humor, people like different flavors.
This flavor is generally slightly dry with a few wet spots. Tati observes the usual, the commonplace, the well-meaning and then tweaks it just enough to either make you smile in self-recognition or sometimes snort milk out your nose. His Monsiuer Hulot is a gentle, chivalrous soul, always trying to be helpful although he inadvertently sows occasional chaos in his wake, as if "letting no good deed go unpunished."
ETA: I've just read Roger Ebert's review of "M. Hulot's Holiday"; it is superb and I recommend it to all:
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/ apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19961110/REVIEWS08/ 401010328/1023 (remove the 2 spaces)
The "Criterion" DVD version restores many portions that had previously been edited out and is the best version to see.
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