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.
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... See full summary »
Monsieur Hulot's brother-in-law is the manager of a factory where plastics are manufactured. His nephew grows up in a house where everything is fully automated and the boy is raised in a similar fashion. To take away the influence of the uncle on his son, his brother-in-law gets Hulot a job in his factory. Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
The word I would use to describe this film is "amusing", not "hilarious"; "amusant" rather than "rigolo". It gently charms a smile onto your face. Only rarely does it bring out an actual guffaw (when M. Hulot is faced with his sister's kitchen, for example). Tati refuses to impose his own ideas of what is important on the viewer, which is usually done by spending more screen time on them or zooming in. The title (usually considered to be important) is a scrawled piece of graffiti which stays on the screen for less than 1/2 second, but there are long sequences showing M. Hulot's apartment. The viewer has to work to see Hulot appearing (apparently randomly) in the various windows of the building as he walks through it. I love the window which is inexplicably at foot level in which you can see Hulot's feet turn to the wall as the feet of a woman dressed only in a slip appear.
In other words, this film is a stroll where, if you keep your eyes open, you will spot some amusing things going on. And France is a great place for a stroll.
Two more things. While the comparison to Chaplin is apt, I was led to think of later characters, particularly Hrundi Bakshi in Blake Edwards' The Party and another almost silent character, Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean. Indeed I'm sure Atkinson stole ideas from this film.
Also, I think it is misleading to focus too much attention on M. Hulot's struggles with modern tech. The title, Mon Oncle, should direct our attention to the nephew, for whom Hulot is a parole from the prison of his sterile house, enabling him to run with the kids, get dirty, buy doughnuts from a grubby vendor who applies the icing sugar with a bare hand and play practical jokes on passers-by (with Hulot ready to cover for him if need be). Fifty years later these comments are even more biting as we look at a whole generation of children raised in this kind of inhuman antiseptic environment: overweight, with eating disorders and allergies, socially inept with only a TV and a video game for a friend. Makes a dachshund in a red coat want to run with the mutts and tip over a garbage can or two, doesn't it?
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