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 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 »
At Altra Motors, Mr. Hulot designs an ingenious camper car with lots of clever features. A lorry hauls the prototype to an important auto show in Amsterdam, with Mr. Hulot alongside in his car and a spoiled, trendy PR exec, the young Maria, in her sports car packed with designer clothes and her fluffy dog. The lorry has every imaginable problem, delaying its arrival. A flat tire, no gas, an accident, a run-in with police, a stop at a garage, and numerous traffic jams showcase vignettes of people and their cars. Through interactions with these down-to-earth folks, Maria gradually loses her imperious conceit, becoming much more relaxed and fetching. Written by
During the car crash, when the white Citroen DS goes on its front wheels, the camera cuts to a reverse shot showing the DS from behind, revealing small auxiliary wheels underneath the car to make it run that way. See more »
In the opening credits, Tati is billed simply as "M. Hulot." He does, of course, use his real name for his writing and directing credits. See more »
Whilst not Tati's best by any stretch of the imagination the genius of the man still shines through. Having lived in France for a while I see more humour in this film, particularly in the comedic observation, than before. The French may be fanatical about cinema and may well have produced some of the world's greatest film makers but out and out comedy probably ranks well down in terms of output. Maybe it's something to do with the French sense of humour (whatever that may be). Unlike British, and to a lesser extent US comedy, self-parody is not a French strength. It could be something to do with their history and education but the culture, so strong in literature and the arts seems not to demean itself with pure laughter. Most cinema fans would probably be hard put to list 10 French comedies - other than perhaps drama with the occasional comic undertones. Les Visiteurs (the original not the recent re-make) is probably one of the better examples but here again there's little or no self-mocking.
So it was left to Tati to mine the seam - and how well he mined it. Here he takes the smallest of French (dare I say Parisian) mannerisms and extends them into lengthy scenes of beautifully observed comedy. Whether it's the windscreen wipers in tune with the occupants or the nose-picking drivers, he asks the French to at least smile, if not laugh out loud, at themselves.
Yes, the film does move at rather a slow pace and there are times when the comic observation sags, but the sight of dear old M Hulot in his mackintosh, loping along with pipe jutting from his mouth will ever remain one of cinema's delights.
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