So being rather unfamiliar with Tati’s work in general, I had planned on seeing all of his work at a Tati retrospective that is playing here in the Bay Area this month. But upon reading about it, I noticed that Mon oncle was the only one being screened in English. At first I was dismayed and was going to skip it and just get the DVD from my local library, but now I have read that Tati himself made the English version as its own separate film.
What’s the general consensus on how the English version compares to the French? Should I skip it and just see the French version on the DVD, or is the English also great and worth shelling out a few clams for to see it in a theater?
the dialog is so spare
the english version is fine
The English version of MON ONCLE has been restored and re-released, and is playing at NYC’s Film Forum for the next few days, and is probably touring the country and, I hope, will lead to another Criterion DVD.
The reviews I’ve read, while laudatory, talk about differences between the French version and the English version. I saw the English version the other day, and can’t see any significant differences.
Anyone have any details?
It doesn’t really matter what language. Tati did English versions because he didn’t think subtitles were appropriate for his films. Doing it in English allows you to focus completely on the action in the frame.
I’m with Dennis B. The dialogue in Tati’s films is so sparse, you’re really not missing anything. Unless you’re a dunce, you’ll get by in the French feature just fine (although I think once or twice I’ve seen something that actually did rely on a language pun, but you might get it from context anyway). If you’re worried about not getting it, don’t be. If you’re worried about having to spend “a few clams” on a feature, you’re going to eat ‘em anyway. It’s really just up to you if you want your seafood now or later.
That’s not the question I was asking.
The NY Times says this:
“This is the recently rediscovered and restored alternate version of Jacques Tati’s great comedy of 1958, assembled with English-speaking audiences in mind and featuring some significant variations in staging and editing.”
Film Forum’s website says this:
“With opening credits and street signs in English and the Arpels’ dialogue in British-accented English — though the townspeople still speak in (unsubtitled) French — Uncle was meant to be more accessible, but is also subtly different, containing scenes missing from Oncle and producing a slightly greater tilt toward Hulot’s world over la moderne. "
Dave Kehr in The New York Times also says this:
Entire sequences appear in one version but not the other, and scenes are shot and edited for different effect…
– Dave Kehr, The New York Times
This print, then, according to these three sources, is different from the original French version in more than language.
Does anyone know what these differences are? I didn’t really notice anything different, aside from the obvious Britishisms.