Once a year the fair comes for one day to the little town 'Sainte-Severe-sur-Indre.' All inhabitants are scoffing at François, the postman, what he seems not to recognize. The rising of the...
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Once a year the fair comes for one day to the little town 'Sainte-Severe-sur-Indre.' All inhabitants are scoffing at François, the postman, what he seems not to recognize. The rising of the flagstaff under his direction nearly leads into a catastrophe - but everybody tells him how important his work is. Sneering up François 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. François 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>
François le facteur:
I guess I lost my head.
You mustn't get so worked up.
François le facteur:
I wanted to be fast, but the Americans get all the glory.
Oh, the Americans can do as they please, but they can't make the crops grow any faster. Besides, news is rarely good, so let it take its sweet time.
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Director Jacques Tati shot the film simultaneously with two cameras: one was loaded with color film and one with black and white film, as a backup copy. The film was originally intended to be released in color, but the laboratory could not develop the color film because it was shot using a new, experimental process, so Tati decided to release the black and white version instead. Another version, with some color footage was released in 1961. In 1995 the original color negative was partially restored and some parts of the black and white film were computer colorized in order to generate a new color version faithful to Tati's original vision. This new version was released with a short prologue detailing the shooting history of the film. See more »
Personally, I think Tati's films are hilarious; but they're not to all tastes. Some have told me that they loathe his work. I've never figured out why, but I think it's because the character that Tati usually plays himself is so totally dead pan, so unaffected by the events around him (which he is usually causing) that many miss the more subtle comic bits happening that effectively generate his environment.
At any rate, Tati's main shtick - or at least his best known - is to take a pretentiously upright petite bourgeoisie with 19th century sensibilities and drop him into 20th century France where he must confront a society that is largely defined by the gradual eroding of those sensibilities. He usually has serious difficulties with little things like record players or radios. He's a hazard in a car, but the world's no safer when he rides a bicycle. But through it all, he never loses his aplomb, which is derived from his inner recognition that the nineteenth century was more interesting than the 20th overall.
In this film, the 20th Century is best (or worst) represented by the recurring presence of Americans. Around the time of the release of this film, the French began to worry that the American, who had liberated them from the Germans, might never go away - a worry that remains influential in French politics to this day, and with some justification. Certainly Tati's postman, on his humble bicycle, appears to be no match at all for the Americans in their motor vehicles - except that his innocent buffoonery somehow manages to get the best of them every time.
That give's the film a slight satirical edge, and one which leaves a real impression. Otherwise, we still have the imperturbable Tati, whom "neither rain nor snow nor sleet" - whatever.
Enjoyable and wholly entertaining.
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