Cinema Simply Different

In a grey Paris, there are countless curious figures bustling about between identical buildings. A herd of American tourists is being led from one attraction to another, while office and service workers disperse into the orderly chaos. Right in the middle: the clumsy and peculiar Monsieur Hulot. Armed with hat, umbrella and pipe, he stumbles involuntarily into strange situations and uncovers the way of the world as the chaos that it is.

With Hulot as his odd figure, Jacques Tati wittingly analyses and criticises the modern consumer society. Its seriousness and shallowness are playfully overdrawn and made unfamiliar – the cinematic means turn the big city and her elements into a caricature. Heels clatter unusually loud on the hard office floors, glass doors unusually efficiently tune out the street noise and leather armchairs puff and groan unnaturally. With Playtime, Tati has created a cunning societal satire, and joins the Slapstick tradition alongside Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

Nico Uebersax

Translation: Paula Brändli

Other films in this program