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France 1967
Directed by
Jacques Tati
120 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars


Jacques Tati's film is a charming satire of the Modernist metropolis as a chic prison of mirrored facades and willing conformity. Reminiscent of Charles Chaplin's Modern Times (1936) albeit of a gentler stripe, it was shot in 70 mm, with a delicate score by Francis Lemarque and many Tati aficionadi understandably regard it as the director's masterpiece.

To realize his vision Tati sank everything he had into the construction of a huge set, known by the crew as 'Tativille', on which the meticulously-executed film is entirely shot. Tragically, it was a commercial flop, Tati was bankrupted (a not dis-similar experience to that of Coppola with his marvellous 1982 folly, One From The Heart) and by all accounts, left embittered by the experience.

To be fair despite being genially amusing and at times very funny it is self-indulgent, and from our post-modern perspective rather dated (although because of this it is a treat for lovers of '60s style) but it is also a genuine work of cinematic art and one of cinema history's most remarkable productions.




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