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Pierre Étaix

This elaborately conceived and brilliantly mounted comedy is Pierre Etaix’s most beloved movie, as well as his personal favorite. Beginning as a clever homage to silent film, complete with intertitles, Yoyo blossoms into a poignant family saga (in which Etaix plays both a father and his grown son) and a celebration of the circus Etaix adored. Chock-full of nimble sight gags and ingenious sound effects, Yoyo is very sweet, a little bit melancholy, and wholly imaginative.

“Étaix was a circus performer (clown, acrobat, you get the impression he did a little bit of everything) before he came to cinema. Étaix loves the circus and it lives and breathes in virtually every frame of his films which mostly star the director as an everyday clown in various guises. He served his film apprenticeship under the great Jacques Tati, providing gorgeous illustrations that influenced the design of “Mon Oncle.”

Étaix speaks plainly about “Yoyo” (1965, 98 min.): “I put everything I love into it.” That includes his parents (his father had recently died in an accident) and, of course, the circus. Étaix plays dual roles as a wealthy father who loses everything in the depression and (after a ten year leap in the story) the son who becomes a clown and eventually regains the family’s wealth. Étaix’s bonhomie is so infectious that even a circus-hating freak like me can’t help but be moved by the affectionate portrait of both the itinerant entertainer’s milieu as well as the series of characters who materialize out of thin air just for their one joke before exiting stage left.” MOVIE METROPOLIS

“A rather charming blend of French auteurist styles, with Jacques Tati’s silent film-indebted, “let’s-fill-up-the-frame-with-life’s-ironies”-modernism on one hand, and Sacha Guitry’s verbose, montage-oriented indulgence on the other.” CAPSULES FROM HELL


  • 4/23 | 8:00PM
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