Monday, 11 July 2011

Les Vacances de M. Hulot

The other night I visited a friend for the evening and we spent a delightful couple of hours watching the first feature film of the celebrated French mime artist, Jacques Tati.

If you've never seen it, Les Vacances de M. Hulot (Mr Hulot's Holidays) is a wonderfully gentle comedy set in post-war France, depicting the middle classes at play on holiday at the seaside in Brittany. There's no need to speak French: what little dialogue there is plays a very definite second fiddle to the visual comedy. The feel is something like a cross between an Ealing Comedy and Mr Bean: it's all very gentle, subtle yet often absurd, and beautifully executed.

It made me want to rush back to France, yet I know that the world he so lovingly captured has largely gone (except for the food, of course). Our own homage to Tati's cinematography was suitably enhanced by a lovely French Sauvignon Blanc - what else?

1 comment:

Marginalia said...

A couple of Christmases ago I bought the missus the BFI DVD set of Jacques Tati's films. Pure gold. As you point out warm, lovingly observed humour. My favourite is his first "Jour de fete", but "Mon Oncle" is also such a gem.

For me much of the attraction is of a golden age - the 50's of my childhood, but his films attract enthusiastic support from all ages. You have them to look forward to.