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Are you attracted by the slightly bizarre? Do you like all that is French? If you also take pleasure in sixties esthetics and classic cars, I would like to take the opportunity to invite you inside the surreal world of Jacques Tati…

The French filmmaker, Jacques Tati, created a series of rather unique movies beginning in the early fifties and continuing up to the mid-seventies. Besides being both the screenwriter and the director, he also played the role of Monsieur Hulot, a quite awkward and socially inept character always bearing his signature pipe, hat, overcoat and umbrella. Monsieur Hulot represents the “old” France, and through his continuous clumsy confrontations with the modern and materialistic France, Tati attempts to comment on our mutual cold and impersonalized future.

Especially the movie “My Uncle” from 1958 is a very conservative – but also very comical – depiction of the complex evolution which also France went through towards the end of the 1950’s. Throughout, Tati in the role of Monsieur Hulot is priceless in his multiple struggles, mistakes and theatrical character traits.

All of Tati’s movies revolve around the bizarre and often downright surreal. Most of his movies also had massive budgets with grand sets and plenty of extras. Today his movies have great esthetical value, and if nothing else, the scenes from the modernistic designer France are especially interesting. Not least when seen through our current times retro-craze. Also the audio is worthy of note, as background sounds have been heavily enhanced and speech has become background noise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For us car enthusiasts the movie “Traffic” is of particular interest. This time Monsieur Hulot plays the role of a travelling inventor making his way to an exhibition in a gadget-filled campervan. Despite the unusually humble budget, “Traffic” was still a typical Tati movie with carefully staged and choreographed scenes and effects.

“My Uncle” and “Traffic” are both cornucopias in pictures of cars in weird and insane situations. Needless to say, the cars weren’t classics back when Tati made these movies, but they have of course become just that in the meantime…

 

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