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Trafic (1971)

Mr. Hulot drives a recreational vehicle from Paris to Amsterdam in his usual comical, disastrous style.

Director:

Jacques Tati

Writers:

Jacques Tati (original scenario), Jacques Lagrange (artistic collaboration) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jacques Tati ... Monsieur Hulot (as Mr. Hulot)
Marcel Fraval Marcel Fraval ... Truckdriver
Honoré Bostel Honoré Bostel ... Director of ALTRA
François Maisongrosse François Maisongrosse ... François (as F. Maisongrosse)
Tony Knepper Tony Knepper ... Mechanic
Franco Ressel
Marco Zuanelli Marco Zuanelli ... Mechanic (as Mario Zanuelli)
Maria Kimberly Maria Kimberly ... Maria
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

traffic | police | dog | road | repairman | See All (70) »

Taglines:

The Master of Comedy Gets Caught in a Jam!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French | Dutch | English

Release Date:

11 December 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Trafic See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final feature film directed by Jacques Tati. See more »

Goofs

A wide shot shows the empty exhibition hall which seems to be subdivided into lots by thin wire on poles. While only the poles are visible from the distance, some men have to climb over the wire as they cross the scene. But if you look closely at their foot movements, obviously there is no wire as otherwise they would repeatedly get stuck and stumble. See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Follows Playtime (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Les Lignes Jaunes
Written and Performed by Charles Dumont
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Conventional Hulot
22 June 2003 | by SqoonSee all my reviews

Jacques Tati attempts to drastically transform his alter ego for the final installment of the Hulot series, and naturally you can't blame him (one being that this comes after the financial disaster of Playtime, but especially because of the fact that he has added dimensions to Hulot in every film) but in most respects, Traffic is considerably stunted. It's still quite good, but a serious disappointment after Holiday, Oncle, and Playtime, which after ascending in genius and brilliance, there would be no place to go but down.

Traffic has the most conventional plot of the entire series - there's a set goal (getting the Altra car to the convention) - but rather than making the film more accessible, it only makes it more alien. All the Hulot films are blithely and happily adrift, propelled only by its jokes and reoccurring characters, but in the case of having a clear goal in mind, the deliberate slow pacing begins to weigh the film down. Because we are anticipating their arrival at the car show, throughout the movie we wonder what's in store and the build-up creates impatience, rather than the usual relaxation. If Tati was going for accessibility and conventionality, why didn't he employ a faster, three-act structure?

It's unfortunate to see gone the Hulot of old who was content on just walking around for days; in Trafic he's constantly running around doing busy work (he's on screen for nearly half the movie but actually doesn't do much of anything noteworthy). Like in the other films, he never knows what to do with himself and the world doesn't know what to do with him, but in Trafic, the problem is that this is a world Hulot created: he designed the Altra and it is he who wants to get it to the car show. He is imposing himself on the world, rather than the world that is crashing down on him and him fighting back, so the gags and observations aren't as pure or natural.

The stops the mini-caravan makes and the exploration of new roadside towns are perfect opportunities to bring back the old Hulot, but Tati seems almost afraid to let the world come to Hulot on their own terms. Scenes like two kids playing a beautiful tune on an acoustic by a lake or Hulot arriving at a convenience store feel like set-ups for great scenes which were left on the editing room floor.

I still really enjoyed the movie (there are some inspired visuals and Hulot is Hulot; it's always great to see him on the screen) but these were specific negative points I thought were worth bringing up.

6/10


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