The antithesis of everything I stand for: juggling, audience participation, men pretending to ride horses, good old fashioned fun, people actually cruelly attempting to ride a mule. In other forms I might like the dissolution of everyday/performance audience/performer but with these stale routines I find it really unappealing...plus the mule.
I don't really get why this film has such a low rating. Tati deconstructs the whole concept of the circus, metaphorically showing that inside all of us is at least a bit of a clown. In a good sense! I found the film to be very entertaining, simple, humble but downright masterful. With a lot of hints from his previous films. It's no wonder he was and continues to be an inspiration for comedians around the world.
Surprised this has such a low rating! Yes, I suppose it's not really a proper "film", but like Stop Making Sense, I'd be happy to have it play on a loop in the background of my life, for me to dip in and out of. You have to watch it the way you watch any Tati movie: observing how the little details express a fondness for human nature (the audience is part of the show). A lovely coda.
As a big fan of Jacques Tati, I'm glad I saw this film. However, it was a sheer disappointment. It is said that he was depressed at the end of his life and it kind of shows here. It was as if he was just putting it together without any heart or soul, which filled all of his other films. This one just seemed dead and I feel bad saying negative things about it because I know he was not in a good state making it. :(
I disagree with the comments below: this is a fantastic film! Yes, it doesn't have the virtuosic frame jammed with event of Playtime, or the signature rhythm and movement of M Hulot (which is never sth I have loved), but it is a thoroughly personal & achieved film by Tati. One that tries to distribute ("democritize" Tati would say though I don't know about that) perception away from the sacred center of Performance..
Disappointing final film from Tati. It still has some good moments though. In theory this is the ideal Tati film, a movie about a circus and its audience. There are some perfect Tati moments that are ruined by bluntness. Seeing these makes you realize just how important the distance Tati keeps the camera from his subjects is. A lot of the film is like a straight documentary. Tati at his worst but I'm glad I saw it.
Tati's last film is in my opinion also his weakest. It must have been a very personal project for him, showing us the place where he got started in the 1930s. But for me the film just doesn't have the same drive and confidence as his earlier work and ends up leaving almost nothing behind after viewing it. I liked some scenes in it and the nostalgia in the air but I don't see much replay value.