The great thing about early childhood (if memory and observation serve me well) is the luminous and easy sense of play offered. The great things about films like this, is they provide a conduit back to that mindspace.. Although this is very much a "first feature", Tati kept me charmed/interested till the end, more than living up to his reputation... I will add my two Penny thoughts about the other two versions later,
The baby steps of one of the most singular film styles of all time. The convergence of visual comedy, slice of life costumbrism and postwar art-house ambiguities. Sometimes the gag is just a draft. The town struggles to lift a pole; in a nearby scene this struggle can be seen behind the roofs: the gag becomes background. The dialogue of a film projected in a tent comments on a love scene of two real life characers.
Premier long métrage de Jacques Tati plus que prometteur puisque encore aujourd'hui, ce film reste une des plus belles réussites du cinéma français comique. L'histoire débute d'une manière extrêmement douce, puis les gags sont de plus en plus nombreux et la clownerie s'enchaîne et s'en donne à coeur joie jusqu'à la fameuse "tournée à l'américaine" point culminant du film... www.cinefiches.com
The second half of Tati's first film reuses much of the material from his short film "School for Postmen". For this reason, I found the second half less entertaining than the first. The first half finds Tati in remarkable, fully-realized form for a first feature. The laughs come thick and fast. His wry psychological observations of common humanity are charming and as endearing as anything he made after.
I wish there was more exposition of Tati getting sloshed in other films, I feel it adds a reasonable degree of rationale to his behaviour. Otherwise, business-as-usual with the most enjoyable Tati I have seen so far. The visual language is still too dense for me, and I find the endless parade of people who aren't characters tiresome, but it works better in a film of this length.
This is a movie miraculously made so as to inspire a feeling of calm and happiness. I feel I see so many movies filmed with gritty violence and heavy themes, and it’s incredibly refreshing to see something with no serious conflict, emotional dilemma, or heavy thematic arch’s. It’s just a nice thing to watch and relax and feel some nostalgia with. Also pretty clever and funny with its visual humor.