Playtime (1967)

Reid, 17. June 2006, 15:15

Dir. Jacques Tati

If there’s a film to demonstrate the value of letterboxing, it’s this film. The film was shot in 70mm and many key activities are hidden on the sides of the screen. One commentator at IMDB also said that the seeing the film on big screen also helps pick out the details. This person saw it on the big screen first, then later saw when he saw in on TV, he thought the film was mediocre. (He saw it again the big screen and loved it.)

Well, except for a few moments, I thought it was a mediocre film. The film has little plot and involves a Tati’s main character, Monsieur Hulot–a Chaplinesque character–and an American tourist in modern Paris. This is basically a silent film–all the action takes place in the visuals. Tati is unique in the type of visuals he sets up, too. The visual scenarios are just as much amusing and charming as they are laugh-out-loud funny. (My personal favorite of the Tati films is Mr. Hulot’s Vacation.

The 1001 book mentions that the film helps “viewers see with new eyes.” I see what they mean as I began to feel a little disoriented based on the set-up of certain scenes.

Criterion Collection is coming out with a release in September, so for those interested, you might want to wait for that version.

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