Monday, February 23, 2009

Jacques Tati


Jacques Tati is one of the great comic icons of French cinema, a Gallic equivalent of Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton, whose works as director, writer, and actor are regarded fondly by audiences as well as harder-to-please critics. Like a true auteur, Tati essentially made only one kind of film, in his case, the physical comedy. There is little to no dialogue in his movies, and the action, frenzied but tightly choreographed, is invariably set to a breezy musical score. The main protagonist of all his movies is also his screen alter ego, the ubiquitous Monsieur Hulot who, with his pipe and trenchcoat, eventually came to personify the Tati canon. From 1953 to 1974, Tati played Hulot a total of five times, winning an Oscar and two Cannes prizes along the way. Two of the best known Hulot films, M. Hulot’s Holiday (1953) and Mon Oncle (1958), have been released on DVD by the Criterion Collection.
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