Peter Labuza’s review published on Letterboxd :
A history of cinema
And modern Europe
Told through its clowns.
Build up your fortune
But never forget your elephant.
First thing first: A bit of a low rating here might be cause alarm, but it comes down to one thing—I didn't laugh that hard at many of the jokes (the only major guffaw was the plane eating). Almost every gag got a chuckle out of me, but few had me rolling, especially compared to Le Grand Amour.
Certainly the more ambitious piece—before cinema came vaudeville, and this film traces cinema from silents to awkward sound to post-war realism (the dilapidated mansion) to television and ends with its own version of Antonennui (with a properly Felliniesque ending). At the same time, it takes us through its own version of the history of Europe with wit, especially with the war. It provides proper citations (Chaplin, Marx): the most clever of which is when Etaix's father character realizes that La Strada literally got to the plot he's currently in first.
Not sure I ever found myself interested in the character level, however. Yoyo dreams of reclaiming his father's decadence and realizes that it he's grown further and further away from his craft to simply his business. Then again, Le Grand Amour isn't exactly breaking new ground in what it says about love, only how it goes about showing our internal desires. This left me somewhat detached; perhaps a re-visit when I pick up the box set will be in order.