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E complete collaboration of Tati's daughter and the freedom to examine hitherto inaccessible archives including film footage videos taped interviews and early drafts of shooting scripts What emerges is the picture of a man at once dedicated impassioned and shy an artist than a man of busines. Excellent insight on his life and work offering an original perspective on both

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 Jacques Tati (Panther S)

A Frenchman of Russian origins Jacues Tati worked as a picture framer and a music hall mime before being drawn into the world of the French cinema and making the films that rank him with the most popular comedy actordirectors in Jacues MOBI #224 any country He brought to his filmsJour de Fte. Well researched and organized and gave me a lot of insight into the man behind the internationally famous M Hulot Interesting production information but would have been happier with production details and detailed credits

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Monsieur Hulot's Holidays Mon Oncle Playtime and othersa healthy openness to new technology in movie making and a rigorous precision the hallmark of many great clowns in the execution of each scene In this the first complete authoritative biography of the French icon David Bellos has had th. Before he began to direct films Jacues Tati had a proleptic role in Claude Autant Lara s romantic comedy Sylvie et le Fantome in which he moved like a dancer was beloved friend to a dog created a certain amount of deliberate and inadvertent havoc and was completely silent Much of this could be a description of his famous alter ego Monsieur Hulot who figured in four of his six feature films and is near the top of the line of comedy s great assumed incarnations from Chaplin s Tramp to Barry Humphries Dame Edna Everage In his superb study of Tati s work Jacues Tati Harvill Press 1999 David Bellos says of Hulot that he is expressed first of all by a posture straight backed but leaning forward from the ankles in defiance of gravity head held low like a bird s bending from the neck exaggerating the sense of impending diseuilibrium a jutting pipe underlines the forward tilt elbows splayed backwards making a gawky elouent and comically elongated silhouette Another writer Michael Chion described his expression indefinable somewhere between worry stupidity and polite neutrality But it was Penelope Gilliatt who nailed the result of his presence and existence she said Hulot was muddle s natural kin Hulot as someone said of life is what happens when you re making other plans Tati not only invented Hulot as well as the wonderful Francois the postman the efficiency crazed protagonist of Jour de Fete but profoundly altered one wants to say confused the methods of screen comedy Tati s films were physical and gag humor than dialogue humor no one ever uotes a Tati film they describe it He was particularly fascinated by what could be done with sound In Mon Oncle Hulot venturing into his sister s ultra modern kitchen discovers that the water jug is made of plastic to the point that it bounces he plays around with it for a minute like a kid with a basketball and then delighted with his discovery grabs a glass inspects it with visible anticipation and drops it obviously expecting it to bounce as well The glass drops out of view and we hear an awful sound of shattering Bellos describes a friend of Tati s one day discovering him spending hours dropping different glasses to find the one that would make the perfect shattering noise Part of the second seuence in Playtime takes place in an ultramodern glass walled modern waiting room during which the only sounds are the fwoops whooshes and thoongs of padded furniture and airtight glass doors His sight gags are not usually slapstick but visual disorientations one man asks another to light his cigarette but they have to walk to a doorway to get this done as they are on opposite sides of an invisible glass wall Later in Playtime five men carrying a vast pane of glass do an elephant step mambo to music from a radio several stories below From background and influences as varied as picture framing rugby and music hall performing Tati gave the world a particular kind of attention not entirely like what we d seen before Bellos sketches in Tati s life and career which is not an entirely happy story Tati s perfectionism ambition and detail mania began to outrun his finances and his friends patience The details of the enormous budget crippling set he built for Playtime reminded me of the tales of Erich von Stroheim who wanted characters clothing to be put into the chests of drawers on his sets it s the story familiar to anyone who reads film history of the horribly permeable line between genius and megalomania And Playtime of course is in some senses the masterpiece you will never see filmed in seventy millimeter its visually complicated gags look almost claustrophobic on the small screen But Bellos gives us all sorts of technical background stray surprises and social history and he captures a good deal of the charm of Tati at his best Tati is an individual for some an acuired taste Probably the way to start off is with his arguable best Monsieur Hulot s Holiday and Mon Oncle all of his films are available on DVD from Criterion At a double bill of these two features years ago a friend of mine was reduced to such helpless chair pounding raucous hilarity that at intermission a nearby viewer asked her Do they pay you to come here They are ingenious delightful funny films but as Pauline Kael wrote it is not until afterward with the sweet nostalgic music lingering that these misadventures take on a certain poignancy and depth From Glenn s Book Notes


10 thoughts on “ Jacques Tati (Panther S)

  1. says:

    Bellos' biography of Jaqcques Tati do not only provide a detailed historical description, but brings Tati the producer and actor ali

  2. says:

    excellent

  3. says:

    Well researched and organized and gave me a lot of insight into the man behind the internationally famous M. Hulot. Interesting production information, but would have been happier with production details and detailed credits.

  4. says:

    David Bellos's biography/study of Jacques Tati is worth a read, especially since there is no other significant bi

  5. says:

    Before he began to direct films, Jacques Tati had a proleptic role in Claude Autant Lara’s romantic comedy Sylvie et le Fantome, in

  6. says:

    Wow! Money very well spent indeed, from the work of art that is the jacket, to the wonderfully written text, Go for it!!!

  7. says:

    Excellent insight on his life and work, offering an original perspective on both.

  8. says:

    Great read !!

  9. says:

    Great book about the French cinema legend!

  10. says:

    Very detailed and readable, an ideal primer for those who enjoy the talent of Jacques Tati and highly recommended to all.