Mr. Hulot’s Holiday

437. MR. HULOT’S HOLIDAY (1953-France). With JACQUES TATI. Written and directed by JACQUES TATI. Sit back and watch a very funny man at work, in one Of the funniest films you could ever hope to see. Tati, the beloved French comic and director, stars as the pipe-smoking title character: a gawky gent whose perceptions are hilariously out Of whack with reality, and who finds himself involved in a variety Of misadventures while on a week’s vacation in a family hotel at a seaside resort in Brittany. Hulot is in no way in touch with the modern world; while others drive shiny new high-powered cars, he thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to own a funny, beat-up, 30-year-old jalopy that is either constantly breaking down or spinning out Of control. The dialogue is virtually nonexistent, and the humor is mostly visual; in fact, Tati’s approach here is quite revolutionary for his time. Essentially, the film is silent with sound effects; it is an ingeniously composed symphony Of crowd noises, honking horns and human voices (which come out as gibberish). Tati’s comic sty le, as he pantomimes his way through the proceedings, will remind you Of Keaton one minute and Of Chaplin the next. His directorial style is direct, uncomplex; Tati’s camera simply records the goings-on in a manner reminiscent Of the way in which films were made pre-D.W. Griffith. Also, there is no real story line; as the film opens, a title tells the viewer, “Don’t look for a plot, for a holiday is meant purely for fun.” For this reason alone Tati is breaking Off from classic narrative films, from what was then considered to be modern cinema. While their genres may have vastly differed, Tati’s cinematic approach was to influence the French New Wave directors who were to burst onto the international film scene in the late 1950s. In English and French with no subtitles – and none are necessary, 86 minutes. Comedy