All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
Jacques Tati’s gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in the age of technology reached their creative apex with Playtime, a lasting testament to a modern age tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion.
What a mess. What a beautiful fucking mess. Chaos and adventure reign. Nothing like a film that completely seduces you after a string of previous films failings that do naught to jolly your rodgers. I did not expect this magnetism. I did not lace my boots or put my tray table up in time. This is my first Jacques Tati film, poppin' cherries all over the place. With this ambitious paragon of hypnotism he goes straight to the top of the director to-do list. It is very sad to read of the debt and trials that he had to go through to get this made, and had to continue through for a decade after. I for one welcome our new…
Welcome to Tativille
Now this is beyond what I expected after Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot - A cinematic marvel to be adored and respected and quite simply, a work of astounding genius. I think I really needed this extra level of Tati to really appreciate his art, and with it's colour presentation aiding me to escape my desire to compare him with the masters of the silent era. Filmed over 3 years, this ambitious vision of a world where modernity and technology obscures mans interaction with each other and everything is transparently artificial, Monsieur Hulot tries to navigate a Paris of steel lines and glass panes to share his heart with someone, anyone. From one ingeniously staged episode to…
Audaciously grand and visually bewildering, Jacques Tati's Playtime made my eyes hurt. In this stunning accomplishment, Tati crafts a visionary and relentlessly detailed landscape and lets his camera loose. At points, the audience follows Monsieur Hulot, a confused and out-of-luck man whose goofy antics highlight the alienating structure around him. And yet, Playtime focuses more on the shifting interactions between people, drifting through modern towers and chaotic restaurants to illuminate the intricate stages of humanity.
However in spite of its majestic insanity, I can't say that I particularly enjoyed Playtime. Its humor, while brilliant and near-constant, wore thin within the first half-hour, and as a result, the entire film lagged at multiple moments. With no story keeping me emotionally invested, all I could think of during Tati's Playtime was how much I admired it.
I was shaving my legs while watching this film but it was such a fucking good movie that I couldn't take my eyes off the screen and now my legs still aren't shaved. I'm going to have a tough time making friends at the beach.
Heretical confession: Though my first viewing was ideal—70mm on the giant Lumière screen at Cannes in 2002, right after its restoration—I think I enjoyed it more at home (on Blu-ray). Rather than feeling continually anxious about what I might be missing in a far corner of the screen (my own idiocy, admittedly), I was able to relax and allow my attention to be subtly directed, which made the first half much funnier. And even when the office-set stuff isn't hilarious, it's consistently awe-inspiring, particularly in the way that adjacent shots navigate the architecture; each new angle builds on the previous one, usually in a way that requires a brief but invigorating moment of visual recalibration. Until night falls, yes,…
Playtime is like a Richard Scarry or Where's Wally? book in very elegant, moving form.
There is so much to take in, there are so many tiny events in every scene, that I don't for a minute doubt the other reviewers here who say how spectacular this film is on this big screen.
But no matter whether you see it on a TV or in the cinema, there is no equivalent of being able to stare at a huge illustration for ten minutes until you've taken it all in - at least not without substantially spoiling the experience of this as a film by endless freeze-framing.
Its feeling of so much happening, of almost too much going on in front…
I feel like I was just invited to George Orwell's house party, offered a boatload of cocaine, contracted a severe case of OCD, and then President Nixon assured me that everything was going to be alright.
tati's worldbuilding is breathtaking
Second viewing (first on 35mm). Held off on rating this the first time, mostly because the film is so sui generis that I had trouble even figuring out how to experience it, let alone rate it. Although the extended restaurant sequence made the strongest impression the first time, it's the first hour here that really gobsmacked me. For a long while, I thought I might be seeing a new all-time favorite (and truly anticipated giving it 100). It's not that the second half is bad, by any means, just that the overall flow and brilliant, subtle direction of the first section—where literally every moment compels—is replaced by more intermittent greatness largely wrapped up in recognition of various running jokes.…
Cinematic I SPY
By all logic, PLAYTIME should not exist, but somehow it does so therefore we must treat it as God.
35mm, The Cinematheque
Now this is a film. In a way Playtime is the Metropolis of comedies: highly ambitious, a master stroke of filmmaking genius, a film on a whole other level, and one that would signal the end.
Tativille is hands down one of the most impressive sets ever created. And Tati's work on this film is all forms of ingenious: the movement and space of Antonioni, the craftsmanship of Welles, the visual gags of Keaton, attention to sound detail like an obsessed Brian Wilson. After watching Playtime, Tati instantly cemented my opinion of him being one of the greatest filmmaking auteurs. Playtime is one of the great films of Cinema and another masterpiece from Tati.
Where do I even begin to discuss such an experience? If I was elevator-pitching this to someone, I suppose I'd call it "Nashville as a silent film" as that's essentially what we're dealing with here, and given my fondness for Altman's masterpiece, this is no faint praise.
I'm actually kind of stunned that so many people seem to view the film as such a deeply cynical exercise, when I found it to be utterly vibrant and joyful. Unlike Mon Oncle, where the Arpels are reduced to little more than objects of ridicule throughout, here Tati embraces the idea of a modernist future even as he gently satirizes it.
Frankly, this feels like a perspective colored by wisdom, where Mon Oncle…
Okay, I'll stop being a grump for two seconds and start with the thing I liked the most: I'm kind of impressed that this film looks really futuristic and foreign even by modern standards, although it was made in 1967. Some ideals are eternal, it seems. That vision of everything being all shiny and sleek and metallic just endures. This film's production values haven't aged a bit. I will credit it for that.
I'm going to cop it here, I can feel it. Already I sense the wave of "muh mise en scene masterpiece" and "muh choreography" comments descending upon me. Yes, the film is impressively elaborate and complicated. Nearly every scene has a lot of stuff going on, and…
I don't know if someone who isn't familiar with Tati's style will get this. Like his previous Mr. Hulot films, this doesn't have a plot, a proper cast of characters, or even dialogue. It consists instead in a series of sketches. I wouldn't even call them comedy sketches.
There's Mr. Hulot again, wandering through this bureaucratic, self-centered world. The camera doesn't seem to notice him, the editing doesn't call our attention to him. You have to be looking at *and listening to* the film in order to see him. Playtime rewards the careful observer.
There are no close shots in this movie. It's all longs and medium-longs. In the big pictures Tati paints, the people all dress and look the…
Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…