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
Jacques Tati's final Hulot film concerns an attempt to get a camper car from Paris to the Amsterdam car show. Its Hulot on the road.
Made in the wake of the disastrous reception of Play Time this was Tati pretty much doing a contract work to get some money. The result is a less refined film than either of his previous two films, much of the film being less precise gags and set pieces, rather its the insanity of just getting from here to there. Filled with people this is possibly the most alive of the four Hulot films. There are what passes for close ups and we we see everyone as individuals and not merely as ants marching in sterile environments. Its a real world film something none of the preceding Hulot films really is.
For those who have seen the three previous films this is a film where details are filled in. Where Mon Oncle had Hulot looking for a new job, here we see the one that he finds, working in auto design. We also get to finally see his ever present umbrella opened. Most interesting is the fact that there is perhaps a hint of romance or if not real romance the sense that he is not an isolated human being. This is the film where the character finally comes to life as something more than a character.
For many people this is a lesser Tati film. It doesn't have the ideas of the previous two films. Outside of the camping car there is no real set piece to make your intellect marvel. The film is not a mediation of grand ideas, there are some, but when you get down to it its a comedy. A real laugh out loud comedy that is almost the exact opposite of Play Time where most of the humor brings smiles but not belly laughs.
I think its a very good film. Certainly its not his best, I would have to say that would be Hulot's Holiday since it mixes the intellectual humor with the belly laugh. This I would probably put as second simply because I genuinely laughed repeatedly at this film, something I didn't do with Mon Oncle and Play Time. I think a good argument could be made for the film being better than its reputation (The laughs, the sense of life and people, and even the lack of pretension). I will agree its not a great film, it does suffer from the meandering that Play Time and Oncle have, but it is a funny one.
If you like any of the earlier films see this movie. If you like funny comedies I also suggest you try this film. It may not go down as your favorite film but I'm pretty sure you will laugh at it, which is all I think it was ever designed to do.
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