Parade ★★★½

Lesser Tati is still Tati.

It's not the grand finale any Tati fan would have liked for the man's career, but Parade still manages to please and intrigue. Produced for TV, it shows one evening's entertainment at a circus. Subversive as always, Tati ensures the audience and the backstage crew are just as much a part of the show as the performers.

Traditional acts, such as illusionists and tumblers use bizarre variations to create a counter-culture freshness to age-old distractions. The viewer is never quite sure where the circus ends and the onlookers begin. Tati uses a variety of media to record the evening, video, 35mm and 16mm (he always was plotting his chess moves three for four levels above the rest of us), and best of all, several of his classic music hall mime routines are immortalized here.

Tati's last two features, this and Trafic were undertaken largely due to the financial setbacks caused by the failure of his arguable masterpiece, Playtime, but the most surprising thing of all, given those circumstances, is that these movies do not evidence any bitterness or regret he may have suffered, but only the sheer joy of creativity.