Jacques Tati’s gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in an age of high technology reached their apotheosis with PlayTime. For this monumental achievement, a nearly three-year-long, bank-breaking production, Tati again thrust the lovably old-fashioned Monsieur Hulot, along with a host of other lost souls, into a baffling modern world, this time Paris. With every inch of its superwide frame crammed with hilarity and inventiveness, PlayTime is a lasting record of a modern era tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion.
“Monsieur Hulot, the bumbling and kindly protagonist, is not an agent of violence like Caution. Hulot is a ghost, fascinated yet endlessly rejected by the city’s sleek, uncompromising interiors and exteriors. It’s not at all a dark film, yet Tati was clever in taking international modernism and 1960s American commercial design at its word; if this was a design for ease and bourgeois leisure, then a Paris saturated by that ease must necessarily be a playground, a site of fun.” SENSES OF CINEMA
“Playtime is unquestionably one of the most important films of the last decade, and yet it is probably for the best that it comes too late. We are surely better equipped today than in 1967 to understand a film such as Playtime, a film incredibly avant-garde, now that so much of the modern cinema has passed before our eyees and been partially digested.” VILLAGE VOICE
“For this remarkable 1967 comedy about man and his modern world, Jacques Tati attempted nothing less than a complete reworking of the conventional notions of montage and, amazingly, he succeeded. Instead of cutting within scenes, Tati creates comic tableaux of such detail that, as film scholar Noel Burch has said, the film has to be seen not only several times, but from several different points in the theater to be appreciated fully.” READER
- 4/30 | 8:00PM