PlayTime ★★★★

The city looks pretty when you've been indoors.

Before this I'd only seen Jour de Fete, which I found very sweet and gently humorous; this was even more earnest and far less funny -- it wasn't the balletic comedy I was expecting, much more of a surreal, purely emotive exploration of urban civilization taken in at its full breadth. As someone who marvels at these sorts of environments even when they're ridiculous, it spoke to me as much before things fall apart as after, which wasn't necessarily Tati's intention since I know he was attacking these skyscrapers and industrial complexes and their beautifully expressed homogeny quite understandably. (And I do know there's a lot I missed, and smaller jokes that I couldn't see on my television, but I wasn't going to stress myself out trying to catch everything.) But it boggles my mind that Tati convinced anyone to invest in this; it's a sensory, abstract experience whose appeal is almost impossible to explain. I'm certainly not doing very well with it here, although my attraction to it was evocative of some delirious fusion of certain architecturally ambitious Silly Symphonies like Musicland... and various tattered old MST3K-grade industrial short films like Century 21 Calling and the extraordinary Design for Dreaming, had those employed more ambitious directors.

Nathan liked this review