Review: ‘Play Time’

Jacques Tati, with considerable renown as a personalized comic director-actor-writer via only three films, makes his fourth effort after an almost 10-year hiatus. Tati has come up with a big scale, gentle comedy about people (mainly tourists) in the growing new metallic and glass cities that resemble each other. Pic takes to the 70mm process with an extraordinary impressionistic outdoor set of a new Paris, and is an observant romp during a one-day stay of a group of tourists.

Jacques Tati, with considerable renown as a personalized comic director-actor-writer via only three films, makes his fourth effort after an almost 10-year hiatus. Tati has come up with a big scale, gentle comedy about people (mainly tourists) in the growing new metallic and glass cities that resemble each other. Pic takes to the 70mm process with an extraordinary impressionistic outdoor set of a new Paris, and is an observant romp during a one-day stay of a group of tourists.

Here, Mr Hulot (Tati) wanders into a glass and metal building ostensibly to see someone and just his presence turns all this modernism into fun. He gets mingled with a group of American tourists and this new modern world as he goes his almost wordless, innocent way.

He meets an old friend and is taken home where people literally live in glass houses. Hulot also gets into a new nitery-eatery, Royal Gardens, which is still being built as the customers arrive. He ends up unwittingly helping tear down the unfinished structure.

Tati is not an active satirist nor does he use slapstick. He has assimilated the greats but is an individual comic talent who builds meticulous gags founded on a gentle, anarchic individualism that is always sympathetic, personal and, above all, funny and constantly inventive. Dialog is just functional.

Play Time

France

Production

Specta. Director Jacques Tati; Producer Rene Silvera (assoc.); Screenplay Jacques Tati, Jacques Lagrange; Camera Jean Badal, Andreas Winding; Editor Gerard Pollicand; Music Francis Lemarque; Art Director Eugene Roman

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1967. Running time: 145 MIN.

With

Jacques Tati Barbara Dennek Georges Montant John Abbey Reinhardt Kolldehoff Yves Barsacq
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