Mon Oncle

My penultimate film of 2009. Jacques Tati (who also directed) stars as Monsieur Hulot, an unemployed vagabond who seems to find mischief with alarming frequency. Nearly silent, the movie comprises a series of set pieces for the hapless Hulot: a blind date attended by a party of one; a factory job that ends in disaster; a lunch party that goes from formal to frantic; a children’s game that would be cruel if it weren’t so funny; and a running joke with a fountain fish that somehow gets funnier with each shot.

Tati was a master at choreographing himself and his actors with balletic precision, so that what could come off as mere slapstick becomes sublime. An amazing comedy–and more than a little pathos in the aimless Hulot. This is one you need to see.

1958; starring Jacques Tati; directed by Jacques Tati; 117 min; Not Rated; in French w/ English subtitles; available on Criterion.

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