110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Anim8Angus95
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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#201 Post by Anim8Angus95 » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:25 pm

Do you think there is any chance of Criterion releasing this in the UK? It looks like such a beautiful set and very high on my wishlist.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#202 Post by med » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:40 pm

Studio Canal released a blu set in the UK around the time Criterion did in the US, so probably not.

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110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#203 Post by MichaelB » Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:37 am

StudioCanal has the European rights, and given what a cash cow these films once were for the BFI I think it's extraordinarily unlikely that they'll be relinquishing them.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#204 Post by Drucker » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:59 pm

Today I went to see Trafic in 35mm. We spend a great deal of time talking about accuracy of color timing with a great deal of the restorations we see. So when I have the chance to see a print of those films, I like to take it. I know there was a little bit of controversy with the color films in this set.

But I'm reviewing the caps I see today and have to say the blu-ray release of this film is certainly closer to what I saw today than the DVDs. Granted, it may be a slight milkiness to the blacks, and there may be a slight red/orange push, but overall the blu-ray looks right to me.

Specifically, caps 5 and 6 on caps-a-holic are dead on for different reasons. The yellow cars in this film are really, really mustard yellow. The way the truck looks here is spot on, and the PR person's car in cap 3 also matches what I saw today. In addition, the nighttime scene (cap 6) outside of the house is incredibly dark. Again, it may have been a bit blacker than we see in this cap, but the brightness on the DVD is just wrong.

Anyway, figured I'd drop a note about this for posterity.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#205 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:11 am

Thanks Drucker. I've been getting in the habit of doing the same - catching films in 35mm, then when it's clear when the print was made (like if there's restoration credits, or if they say something before the screening), I check it afterwards to see if the BD or DVD out there at least gets the color timing right.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#206 Post by Mungo » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:29 am

As a result of discussion in the Infighting sub-forum, I've come to feel a little bad about my tendency to lurk this forum without contributing much of substance. Therefore, to sort of make myself contribute a little more to the forum, I want to try and do write-ups of my thoughts on movies as much as I can. If anyone has any suggestions to give me with regards to critical thinking or writing, please feel free to reply to this and other posts of mine in the most honest way possible, as I’d be happy to know how I could improve my posts in general.

To start this off, I decided to watch Jacques Tati’s Trafic as part of my efforts to get through the colossal box set in anything close to a reasonable amount of time, and I was very pleased with this least charming of his movies. This is definitely Tati’s most personal movie, which many have taken to be a send-up of the car and its culture, but I thought was more of a Tati-esque look at projects and what happens when they don’t quite work out, obviously a bit of a metaphorical dig at Tati’s career at that point. As a result of what it’s trying to show and its focus on cars, this is the Tati movie with the most of what I’d call a plot, with Hulot and friends’s attempts to get a camper car from Paris to Amsterdam hampered at every turn by the mistakes of those around them. With their lack of progress cruelly mirrored by the pervasive TV broadcast of a project executed perfectly (the Apollo 11 landing,) the characters in Hulot’s group nonetheless soldier on, and eventually warm up to each other in subtle ways, and even the bitterness of the final scene is counteracted by the cheery and collected interactions between the two leads, and their genuine happiness.
SpoilerShow
Hulot’s exit from each of his movies are usually very charming moments, and I thought that his exit from this, his last movie, was his best, and is a metaphor for Tati’s retirement of the character. The car finally arrives at the car show, and even becomes a financial success, but it’s too late, for the show has closed, and Hulot is fired on the spot by a superior. Hulot takes this news in stride, and walks off with his female press attaché, both finally free of the stress that motivated them in the preceding 90 minutes. It’s certainly a better ending than the one Tati planned for Hulot, involving him accidentally shot to death in the first reel of an unproduced script!
In contrast to the general warmth of the three main characters, most of the supporting characters are presented with much less sympathy than usual, perhaps even with a little bit of uncharacteristic venom. The people that Hulot and friends run into, such as the fascistic police or the various lazy mechanics, are depicted much more negatively than anyone else Hulot has encountered in general, and without any of the saving graces that redeem, say, the Americans in Playtime, or the Arpels in Mon Oncle. Combined with the camera that moves closer to Hulot and his companions than in any other Tati, and the occasionally darker or more frustrated (or in one instance, outright cruel) sense of humor that pervades the movie, these stylistic and characteristic tweaks result in a movie that is both recognizably Tati and rather off, but one that still worked very well for me.

I’d like to cap this off with a question, because, having seen all the Hulot films, I still don’t understand the presence of a recurring element in each movie. What is the reason for the inclusion, in each film, of a supporting or main female character for Hulot to interact with/sort of romance? You have the young female vacationer in Holiday, the “girl next door” in Mon Oncle, Barbara in Playtime, and now the press attaché in this movie. All four of the women have the same sort of look, are given special attention by many of the other men in the movie, and form a sort of bond with Hulot, and usually accompany him for a little bit of the final sequence in the movie. Do these women hold some sort of significance to Tati, or are they simply variations on a thematic element that Tati liked to repeat? I ask because I don’t know.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#207 Post by calculus entrophy » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:52 am

Sorry for the bluntness, but I had assumed he had merged his personal and professional interests.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#208 Post by domino harvey » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:47 am

It's interesting that I'd blocked out Hulot having any romantic dalliances at all in these films! I've been thinking in the wake of Jerry Lewis' passing about how some physical comedians are able to pull off credible romantic endeavors in their films, and others aren't. For me, Lewis and Chaplin's personas and approach are too juvenile to ever feel comfortable with their romantic pursuits-- it's always like watching that scene from Blank Check where the kid kisses Karen Duffy! Of course, I don't mean "juvenile" as an insult to their talents or their films, and indeed the Gold Rush makes great use of this aspect of Chaplin's Little Tramp. But Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd's personas/filmic approaches are fully encompassing of making them credible romantic leads, and indeed much of their humor derives from their laborious attempts to woo or maintain plausible romantic relationships. As for Tati, well, he's so sexless to my mind that he's somewhere apart from either extreme, but I think it may be telling that I had erased these portions from my memory

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#209 Post by Superswede11 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:02 am

Thanks for your thoughts, Mungo. For me, none of those can really be called romances, more friendships with slight but unrealized romantic potential. There's really only two moments I can think of where Hulot shows romantic interest: in Playtime when Barbara puts her arm on his shoulder to fix her shoe and he looks at her surprised and maybe a little wistful and in Holiday during the pirate dance where there's a similar interaction, though it's more comedic in nature. Otherwise, Hulot is indeed sexless and these relationships are sweet, silly, and temporary (he leaves from holiday, he moves out of the Arpels' house, Barbra goes back to America). Though I've only seen Trafic once, so I'm not entirely sure about how that one fits.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#210 Post by Superswede11 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:25 am

And with regard to what domino said, I think that's part of what makes Punch-Drunk Love so powerful―showing what it would actually mean for someone as immature and dysfunctional as Sandler's persona to have a romantic relationship instead of unthinkingly pairing him off with Salma Hayek or Jennifer Hudson or whatever movie star playing a completely normal, mature character from seemingly another world, which is...disturbing to say the least.
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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#211 Post by jindianajonz » Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:15 pm

Taschen to release 5 volume, 1100 page book on Tati's work.

Interesting that this wasn't put in their Director's Archive line, but even more interesting is that it includes both a Mon Oncle board game and an electronic sound box of key sound effects.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#212 Post by HitchcockLang » Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:03 pm

jindianajonz wrote:Taschen to release 5 volume, 1100 page book on Tati's work.

Interesting that this wasn't put in their Director's Archive line, but even more interesting is that it includes both a Mon Oncle board game and an electronic sound box of key sound effects.
Holy crap! It says it includes complete screenplays. Is that typical of these Taschen editions? I have wanted to delve into the Playtime screenplay for quite a while (not to mention some of the unproduced screenplays). I wonder how complete this section is.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#213 Post by jindianajonz » Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:17 pm

HitchcockLang wrote:
jindianajonz wrote:Holy crap! It says it includes complete screenplays. Is that typical of these Taschen editions? I have wanted to delve into the Playtime screenplay for quite a while (not to mention some of the unproduced screenplays). I wonder how complete this section is.
Screenplays are not typically included. Their Archives books typically revolve around archival images and interviews with people involved in production and the occasional academic, and are usually broken up by individual film or era. They may include excerpts from screenplays as images, but this is the first time screenplays are included as a feature. The fact that they state "complete screenplays", along with the size of this set and the fact that Taschen were given "complete access to Tati's archives", bodes well for this set having what you are looking for.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#214 Post by Mungo » Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:21 pm

Wow, maybe at last there'll be some sort of published document of the 20 or so minutes cut from Playtime!

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#215 Post by soundchaser » Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:23 pm

The Taschen book's been in the works for quite a few years now, I believe. Someone (don't remember who) mentioned it as far back as 2013. I was hoping it would be out before Christmas, but Amazon suggests May of next year.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#216 Post by HitchcockLang » Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:45 pm

Mungo wrote:Wow, maybe at last there'll be some sort of published document of the 20 or so minutes cut from Playtime!
This is part of what I am hoping. I wonder though if it will all be in French or if it might include translation. I may need to start learning French.

Also, I see this is a five volume box set so it would make sense to have one volume each devoted to Jour de fête, Les Vacances, Mon Oncle, Playtime and Trafic. It wouldn't surprise me if Parade got less attention (did it even have a screenplay). I wonder if this will leave room for the screenplays to Film Tati no. 4 (The Illusionist) and Confusion.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#217 Post by Mungo » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:06 pm

Finishing off the set tonight, I watched Parade. Considering how far removed this is from anything Tati filmed before or after, one can really only judge what is essentially a filmed circus performance on the merits of the individual acts, and in that regard the movie is a fun if slight collection of inventive magic and acrobatic acts mixed in with Tati's various mime routines (some of which are taken straight from the superior Cours Du Soir) and two (unintentionally) unnerving performances of a song (also called "Parade") by a singer named Pia Colombo, who was apparently big at the time. There are some great running and recurring jokes, like that of the businessman that keeps running into the ring and getting savaged during a bit where attendees are invited to ride an angry mule, and Tati himself stays just enough on the sidelines to let several other performers have much of the spotlight. Fittlingly for Tati's last completed feature, the movie also brings back Tati's recurring final shots involving children playing with the props, seen as far back as Jour De Fête, but cast off to the wayside for Playtime and Trafic. The final scene takes on more significance now than it probably had in 1974, knowing that Tati has essentially passed the belt on to his daughter. As a whole, the movie certainly worked while I was watching it, but what happened in it hasn't really stuck with me, which hasn't happened before (and will never happen again, considering that I've now seen all the Tati-directed or scripted stuff out there) with one of Tati's films.

As to Domino's comment, "juvenile" is a very good description of a comedic personality such as Chaplin, but even in his movies, he was paired off at least some of the time in some sort of explicitly romantic relationship, whereas Hulot's relationship with the women in his movies straddles a strange edge between Hulot's benign kindness and something romantic, like with the Tramp. By the end of Holiday, for instance, Hulot and the vacationer obviously have some interest in each other, but it never goes beyond a smile. Adding to the confusion as to why all these women are present, for me at least, is how similar they all are. They each have a similar look, personality, and pattern of behavior that all add up to make them stand out among the less seriously depicted figures around them, which is why I thought Hulot was drawn to each. The vacationer in Holiday, for instance, behaves with a certain vitality that makes her stand out, both to us and to Hulot, in several scenes of the movie, much like, say, Barbara in Playtime.

Speaking of Barbara, I should add that I loved one particular nuance of the way she behaved in Playtime. In that movie, the idea of the woman standing out to Hulot is made literal in the Royal Garden sequence, wherein Barbara stands out to Hulot and the other characters because of her green dress, which clashes with the jet-black evening formalwear that the other patrons have on. If Barbara's colorful clothing is a relief from the more fashionable yet less interesting clothes worn by those around her, and given that Barbara is a rather natural and vivacious figure amidst the physical and emotional coldness of Tati's Paris, is Barbara herself a relief from the fashionable yet uninteresting Parisians that the movie satirizes? One could dismiss this as simply yet another dynamic between two of the myriad characters in that excellent sequence, but I see it as another jab at the new Paris and its inhabitants - despite the legend of Paris and its nightlife in particular, it takes the actions of an unwitting tourist to spark something in the ultra-fashionable and ultra-modern minds of the Parisians.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#218 Post by Self » Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:55 pm

Does anyone know of an update to the Taschen book? I tried searching for it on their website and it seems to have disappeared. Even clicking the above link takes one to the main page of Taschen.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#219 Post by Godot » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:27 pm

Self wrote:Does anyone know of an update to the Taschen book? I tried searching for it on their website and it seems to have disappeared. Even clicking the above link takes one to the main page of Taschen.
Amazon still lists it for May 2018 publish date (as soundchaser noted earlier), 1112 pages, $200 retail price, which is roughly where the Chaplin and Kubrick archive books started. I have both of those volumes, by the way, and they are wonderful ... thoughtful essays, intriguing photographs, just like in the Taschen "Films of" decades books ... though ungainly and difficult to store on a bookshelf. I picked up a copy of the smaller Kubrick archive edition as well, so my kids could have a portable version to read.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#220 Post by R0lf » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:25 pm

domino harvey wrote:It's interesting that I'd blocked out Hulot having any romantic dalliances at all in these films! I've been thinking in the wake of Jerry Lewis' passing about how some physical comedians are able to pull off credible romantic endeavors in their films, and others aren't. For me, Lewis and Chaplin's personas and approach are too juvenile to ever feel comfortable with their romantic pursuits-- it's always like watching that scene from Blank Check where the kid kisses Karen Duffy! Of course, I don't mean "juvenile" as an insult to their talents or their films, and indeed the Gold Rush makes great use of this aspect of Chaplin's Little Tramp. But Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd's personas/filmic approaches are fully encompassing of making them credible romantic leads, and indeed much of their humor derives from their laborious attempts to woo or maintain plausible romantic relationships. As for Tati, well, he's so sexless to my mind that he's somewhere apart from either extreme, but I think it may be telling that I had erased these portions from my memory
This reading is just a failure to think of the characters outside of socially sanctified relationships. What you're skirting around but failing to hit the nail on the head with here is that these figures are deliberately written as polymorphously perverse. If Tati had made Hulot an S&M queen tying himself in ever increasing knots it would be entirely in character.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#221 Post by Mungo » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:28 pm

R0lf wrote:This reading is just a failure to think of the characters outside of socially sanctified relationships. What you're skirting around but failing to hit the nail on the head with here is that these figures are deliberately written as polymorphously perverse. If Tati had made Hulot an S&M queen tying himself in ever increasing knots it would be entirely in character.
Maybe I'm misinterpreting something you're saying, but I'd characterize most of these characters as the opposite of perverse. None of them (except for the kids) act in a way contentious to societal norms deliberately. They may accidentally transgress a boundary that they're expected to respect (Barbara wearing the green dress and drawing attention to herself in Playtime, Hulot's numerous faux pas), but because they don't understand the ridiculous social cues and standards they're expected to be aware of. I've always thought of these movies in part as comedies of manners, made both funny and touching by the way the characters stretch themselves trying to conform to what's expected to them socially (Hulot at work in Mon Oncle, the waiter who gives all his clothes to his friends in Playtime, Hulot and crew in Trafic). In each successive movie, the characters are put through more and more strain until Tati himself breaks, and he spends his last Hulot movie (Trafic) mocking the way in which a craftsman is stretched to his breaking point by corporeal and financial problems. The thing is, though, Hulot never breaks or loses his cool, and always tries to solve the problems he's caused for the benefit of those around him. I can't really read such actions as "perverse," sexually or sociologically.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#222 Post by mteller » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:51 pm

"Polymorphously perverse" means they derive sexual pleasure for non-genital areas of the body. Either R0lf doesn't understand the term, or he needs to make his case better.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#223 Post by Mungo » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:13 pm

Could he mean "perverse" in a non-sexual (ie, acting against societal norms) way, or does "perverse" in that expression explicitly refer to sexual gratification?

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#224 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:31 pm

It's a pretty specifically sexually-related term, so probably not. It does refer to the early stage of sexual development where a child (one to five, I think) finds pleasure anywhere they can, specifically outside of strictly heteronormative behavior, which has some relation to his semi-asexual desires. He, and the women he "goes" for, exist beyond the scope of straightlaced social mores, which he points up as being nothing more than a frivolous charade, and like the polymorphously perverse child are able to engage in their own pleasures with no heed for suffocating cultural currents.

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Re: 110-112, 439, 729-731 The Complete Jacques Tati

#225 Post by Lachino » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:04 pm

Freud's technical use of the term as specifically sexual is one thing, Herbert Marcuse employing it as a strategy for a broader transformative liberation of society is another. I suspect R0lf is using it in the latter sense?

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