Tati was really going for something here, but I'm not quite sure what. He's being so subtle here that I couldn't really tell what his point was.
The film is all about a circus, with performances by clowns, magicians, acrobats, jugglers, a band, and Jacques Tati. The different scenes vary in worth - the jugglers are awesome, but there's one sequence, where people try to jump on a pony and a donkey, that's very cruel to animals (although it ends wonderfully). One of the bigger disappointments of the film are Jacques Tati's mimes. Not that they're bad, but Tati fans have already seen them all. He impersonates a football player, a boxer, a tennis player, a fisherman, and an equestrian. This is how he first got famous in the 30s and 40s, by impersonating sportsmen, but at 70 something, his miming isn't as great anymore. And we've seen them all the way back to Watch Your Left and up to The Night Course.
The action isn't just of the circus performers. Tati also goes behind the scenes of the circus and especially to the audience. A lot of the film, in fact, observes the audience. We get to know several of them as characters.
The ending is quite great. It has the same bittersweet tone that all of Tati's endings have. I actually teared up a little, but that was mostly because I knew that this was the last time "Une film de Jacques Tati" would ever appear on screen. I didn't love Parade, but I certainly liked it. 7/10.
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