Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The World of Today Yesterday

Play Time (Jacques Tati, 1967)

The revered French filmmaker Jacques Tati film Play Time is generally considered as his masterpiece. The film takes place in contemporary Paris and deal with Mr.Hulot (Jaquest Tati) copping with the world. In Play Time the immediate environment takes precedence over the tourist and inhabitance. The grandeur of Play Times modernist Paris had to be created instead of using natural location as their filming conditions turned out to difficult to overcome. The cost of production for the film in itself bankrupted Tati who personally financed the picture.

What is so enjoyable about the film is the scope of the world it presents. The film shot in 70mm, unlike most films that are shot in 35mm, allowed for a more developed mise-en-scéne. This allows for a wider and sharper image and sound. In a single scene there would be unbridled events occurring at once. Everything would be going on smoothly in the frame until eventually interlocking the scene together. It serenely plays out more like a tableau vivant than it does a story.

Play Time succeeding Les Vacances de Mr. Hulot (1953) and Mon oncle (1958) offers a much smaller role for Mr.Hulot. The character of Mr.Hulot was suppose to be a one time role but since his creation has become more important then his creator. Tati wanted to kill off Mr.Hulot but keep the Mr.Hulot paradigm present through out the film. His charming bumbling persona returns by others resembling him or by nondescript pantomimes. This was done to infer there is a little Hulot in all of us.

The Canadian Film Institute has been running Playtime: The Cinema of Jacques Tati for the last month. The festival ends next Saturday with Tati’s last film Trafic (1971).

National Archives Auditorium, 395 Wellington Street, Saturday, August 9th, 7:00.

1 comment:

my name is kasia. said...

i love this film, i think it's brilliant. but so many people loathe the film and the character hulot. the holiday one is great as well.