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.
Monsieur Hulot has to contact an American official in Paris, but he gets lost in the maze of modern architecture which is filled with the latest technical gadgets. Caught in the tourist invasion, Hulot roams around Paris with a group of American tourists, causing chaos in his usual manner.Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
Jacques Tati detested close-ups, considering them crude, and shot in medium-format 70 mm film so that all the actors and their physical movements would be visible, even when they were in the far background of a group scene. He used sound rather than visual cues to direct the audience's attention; with the large image size, sound could be both high and low in the image as well as left and right. See more »
In the store Hulot takes the elevator up several floors, but he is then seen looking down from the 2nd to 1st floor, with traffic visible at street level. See more »
The title isn't shown until the end of the opening credits. Additionally, there are no end credits. The final shot simply fades out and there is about a minute of exit music. See more »
First assembled cut ran 155 min. with intermission and exit music. This version was edited down by Tati himself to 124 minutes as a shorter film seemed more lucrative (Tati was in financial trouble because of the non-successful run of Mon Oncle and the long shooting of Playtime). It was released on 70 mm with 6-Track sound. In the US the film was released with a running time of 93 min. and 1-Track mono sound. Other versions ran between 108-120 min. and were released on 35 mm with 4-Track Stereo sound (quadraphonic). Over the years the 124 min. version became unavailable as the shorter versions were shown in wider circulation. In 2001 the film was restored and shown in its original 124 min. cut at Cannes Film Festival 2002. See more »
A fantastic film, has stayed in my memory for years and years
I have only seen Playtime once--in 1975 when I was a teenager living in Los Angeles. I, too, saw it at an art revival movie house (though probably not in 70mm) and remember it to this day! I recall the feeling of having entered a maze, or being lost and dazzled, of thinking how life was like a labrynth and how funny and touching Tati was. I still recommend it to people, especially if you like Fellini. Also, I think the film "After Hours" was based on this film, but the original is far more magical.
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