4 1/2 stars...tati tones down the slapstick of his early shorts and his first film (jour de fete) to give us what Terry Palin called "humor that can be beautiful"...the joke shots and sound gags are often (tho not often enough, his masterworks were still ahead of him) so subtle that they often verge on poetically sublime...bonus, i'm moving to the Oregon Coast this year, and the shots of the ocean were a great touch,
Mr. Hulot - played by Jacques Tati himself - makes everything more fun just by his life attitude. He founds himself in the middle of his own mess. This film proves, more than ever, that a comedy doesn't have to stupidity the viewers. PS.: Any Charlie Chaplin similarity is pure coincidence.
Un petit chef-d'oeuvre d'humour et d'observation qui croque avec délice et délicatesse les us et coutumes de quelques aoûtiens typiques. Plusieurs scènes inoubliables et anthologiques : Hulot repeignant son bateau, la partie de tennis et celle de ping-pong, le jeu de cartes et ses conséquences, et bien sûr le feu d'artifice final. En prime, une superbe bande-son d'une qualité exceptionnelle... www.cinefiches.com
I remember i used to go there every summer as a kid and stay at the hôtel de la plage. And every time my stepfather would tell me again the story "this is where Tati shot Monsieur Hulot !". Fine old school comedy with, as always with Tati, a remarkable sound editing. His trademark !
The addition of the shark canoe scene over 20 years after initial release was an unusually bad decision for Tati. It is completely incongruous. Stephane Goudet observed that the laughter of children loops throughout the many beach scenes, whereas the scenes with adults are often silent. Andre Bazin connected this silence to the melancholy ending. Superbly technical, endlessly endearing, hilariously funny!
Mr. Hulot's had better days. No great sketches, the only good one is the tennis. It's anarchism in a bad sense, stupidity at all, people trying to make sound all the time in a movie full of voices and no one, no one speaks. I think that's the reason why Tati reedited this through the years. He had an itchy on this one.
I don't find Hulot especially funny. Maybe it's the way Tati loads the frame and I sometimes miss the joke because I don't know where to look. That might appeal to others, but it also feeds into the fact that there is no build to the humour, it happens spontaneously with characters who aren't developed and don't speak. I am still waiting for the "click" but in the meantime I will stick to narrative driven humour.
The laconic humuor of this film makes Tati's work timeless. Also his work with sounds and language is remarkable: The real means to tell the story are the carefully arranged sounds - the whole film is a sound collage. In contrast the first real spoken words are uttered after 11 minutes, but the people mostly use formulas of everyday communication without real content.