Jour de fête

Jour de fête ★★★★

Jour de Fête is legendary French comic and mime Jacques Tati's feature length debut. Based on his short School for Postmen, this film follows a bumbling postman doing his rounds at high speed on the day of a local festival. Tati's character here, Francois, is a dizzy dreamer; a sympathetic fool getting caught up in small town life during a busy day of delivering post. Like most of Tati's movies, this is a fairly twee, straightforward movie that's charm resides within the details. Tati's slice of life style of filmmaking lends itself to quiet moments of slapstick tomfoolery, with the wider picture that the film takes place in not really mattering. Themes that are present in a lot of Tati's films are established here, namely anti-technology and anti-modernism. Francois is a traditional man who apposes the modern way of doing things; there is a screening of an American documentary showcasing how efficient the US postal service is due to newer technologies, which leads to wonderful sequences of Tati on his bicycle, cutting corners and darting across the quaint French landscape. On this rewatch, I checked out the 1964 version which features additional scenes and new animation from Paul Grimault. Splashes of red, white and blue are added to various scenes as an artist visits the town. While these additional scenes don't necessarily add much to the experience, I feel like this is a nice precursor to how Tati would later use colour and different colour compositions in his colour films.

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