In Jacques Tati’s Trafic, the bumbling Monsieur Hulot, outfitted as always with tan raincoat, beaten brown hat, and umbrella, takes to Paris’s highways and byways. For this, his final outing, Hulot is employed as an auto company’s director of design, and accompanies his new vehicle (a camper tricked out with absurd gadgetry) to an auto show in Amsterdam. Naturally, the road is paved with modern-age mishaps. This late-career delight is a masterful demonstration of the comic genius’s expert timing and sidesplitting visual gags, and a bemused last look at technology run amok. —The Criterion Collection
Filmmaker and actor Jacques Tati reinvented the art of slapstick comedy, expertly dissecting the nature of sight gags and pratfalls while exploiting viewer expectations to create an ambitious, richly detailed cinematic parlor game perfect for exploring the infinite mysteries of the modern world. Born Jacques Tatischeff October 9, 1908, in Le Pecq, France; Tati mounted his first film short, the comedy Oscar, Champion du Tennis, in 1931, but never saw the project through to its completion. His subsequent early work, including 1934’s On Demande une Brute, 1935’s Gai Dimanche, and 1936’s Soigne ton Gauche, presaged his later features in their fascination with natural and mechanical sounds. The outbreak of World War II, which he spent stationed in the village of Sainte-Sévère-sur-Indre, brought Tati’s career to a temporary halt, and after completing the 1938 short Retour à la terre, he did not appear before the camera again prior to Claude Autant… read more
A look at posters in which actors are absent and the title treatment is king.
"The Museum of Modern Art's retrospective of the French screenwriter, director, and actor Jacques Tati (born Jacques Tatischeff, 1907–1982
Trafic is the bookend to one of cinema’s most memorable and enduring icons in M. Hulot. Rather than about automobiles, this is all about the mannerisms and predicaments that have developed out of our… read review