In his enchanting debut feature, Jacques Tati stars as a fussbudget of a postman who is thrown for a loop when a traveling fair comes to his village. Even in this early work, Tati was brilliantly toying with the devices (silent visual gags, minimal yet deftly deployed sound effects) and exploring the theme (the absurdity of our increasing reliance on technology) that would define his cinema. Here, Jour de fête is presented in three versions: the original 1949 black-and-white release, a 1964 version featuring hand-painted color sequences and newly incorporated footage, and the full-color 1994 rerelease, which finally realized Tati’s original vision for the film.
1949 • 86 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In French with English subtitles • 1.37:1 aspect ratio
MONSIEUR HULOT’S HOLIDAY
Monsieur Hulot, Jacques Tati’s endearing clown, takes a holiday at a seaside resort, where his presence provokes one catastrophe after another. Tati’s masterpiece of gentle slapstick is a series of effortlessly well-choreographed sight gags involving dogs, boats, and firecrackers; it was the first entry in the Hulot series and the film that launched its maker to international stardom. We are presenting Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday in the 1978 rerelease version, reedited by Tati himself, along with the original 1953 theatrical version.
1953 • 88 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In French with English subtitles • 1.37:1 aspect ratio
Slapstick prevails again when Jacques Tati’s eccentric, old-fashioned hero, Monsieur Hulot, is set loose in Villa Arpel, the geometric, oppressively ultramodern home of his brother-in-law, and in the antiseptic plastic hose factory where he gets a job. The second Hulot movie and Tati’s first color film, Mon oncle is a supremely amusing satire of mechanized living and consumer society that earned the director the Academy Award for best foreign-language film. This edition features both the original French release and My Uncle, the version Tati created for English-speaking audiences.
1958 • 116 minutes • Color • Monaural• In French with English subtitles • 1.33:1 aspect ratio
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 loveably old-fashioned Monsieur Hulot, along with a host of other lost souls, into a bafflingly modern world, this time Paris. With every inch of its superwide frame crammed with hilarity and inventiveness, PlayTime is a lasting testament to a modern era tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion.
1967 • 124 minutes • Color • 5.1 surround • In French with English subtitles • 1.85:1 aspect ratio
In Jacques Tati’s Trafic, the bumbling Monsieur Hulot, kitted out as always with tan raincoat, beaten brown hat, and umbrella, takes to Paris’s highways and byways. In this, his final outing, Hulot is employed as an auto company’s director of design, and accompanies his new product (a camper outfitted with absurd gadgetry) to an auto show in Amsterdam. Naturally, the road there is paved with modern-age mishaps. This late-career delight is a masterful demonstration of the comic genius’s expert timing and sidesplitting knack for visual gags, and a bemused last look at technology run amok.
1971 • 97 minutes • Color • Monaural• In French with English subtitles • 1.37:1 aspect ratio
For his final film, Jacques Tati takes his camera to the circus, where the director himself serves as master of ceremonies. Though it features many spectacles, including clowns, jugglers, acrobats, contortionists, and more, Parade also focuses on the spectators, making this stripped-down work a testament to the communion between audience and entertainment. Made for Swedish television (with Ingmar Bergman’s legendary director of photography Gunnar Fischer serving as one of its cinematographers), Parade is a touching career send-off that recalls its maker’s origins as a mime and theater performer.
1974 • 89 minutes • Color • Monaural • In French with English subtitles • 1.37:1 aspect ratio
Jacques Tati’s career, which stretched from the mid-thirties to the late seventies, encompasses more than just the six features for which he’s best known. The charming short films he wrote or directed are essential parts of his filmography as well. Collected here, they include three wacky 1930s comedies he wrote and starred in—On demande une brute (1934), Gai dimanche (1935), Soigne ton gauche (1936)—and the two later films he directed and starred in: L’école des facteurs (1946), which introduces the postman character reprised in Jour de fête, and Cours du soir (1967), made during the filming of PlayTime. We’re also pleased to present Forza Bastia (1978), a soccer documentary begun by Tati and completed by his daughter Sophie Tatischeff after his death, and Dégustation maison (1978), Tatischeff’s César-winning short, shot in the town from Jour de fête.
• New digital restorations of all six feature films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays of Jour de fête, Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday, Mon oncle, Trafic, and Parade and uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray of PlayTime
• New digital restorations of all seven short films
• Two alternate versions of Jour de fête, a partly colorized 1964 version and the full-color 1994 rerelease version
• Original 1953 theatrical release version of Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday
• My Uncle, the version of Mon oncle that director Jacques Tati created for English-language audiences
• Introductions by actor and comedian Terry Jones to Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday, Mon oncle, and PlayTime
• Archival interviews with Tati
• In the Footsteps of Monsieur Hulot, a 1989 documentary about Tati’s beloved alter ego
• Five visual essays by Tati expert Stéphane Goudet
• New interview with film scholar Michel Chion on the sound design of Tati’s films
• “Jour de fête”: In Search of the Lost Color, a 1988 documentary on the process of realizing Tati’s original color vision for that film
• Once Upon a Time . . . “Mon oncle,” a 2008 documentary about the making of that film
• Everything Is Beautiful, a 2005 piece on the fashion, furniture, and architecture of Mon oncle
• Selected-scene commentaries on PlayTime by Goudet, theater director Jérôme Deschamps, and critic Philip Kemp
• Tativille, a documentary shot on the set of PlayTime
• Beyond “PlayTime,” a short 2002 documentary featuring on-set footage
• An Homage to Jacques Tati, a 1982 French TV program featuring Tati friend and set designer Jacques Lagrange
• Audio interview with Tati from the U.S. premiere of PlayTime at the 1972 San Francisco International Film Festival
• Interview with PlayTime script supervisor Sylvette Baudrot from 2006
• Tati Story, a short biographical film from 2002
• Professor Goudet’s Lessons, a 2013 classroom lecture by Goudet on Tati’s films
• Alternate English-language soundtracks for Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday and PlayTime
• New English subtitle translations
• PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critics David Cairns, James Quandt, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and Kristin Ross