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Must-See: M. Hulot's Holiday

by Anne Thompson
November 13, 2009 9:20 AM
1 Comment
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Thompson on Hollywood

The Nuart is showing (November 27 to December 3) the pristine Cinematheque Francaise/Thomson/Technicolor restored print of M. Hulot's Holiday, originally shot in black-and-white in 1953 and reedited by Jacques Tati in 1978. Seeing the French comedy classic was a high point of Cannes last May.

This sojourn on the Atlantic coast of France stars the director for the first time as the pipe-smoking, awkward, impish Hulot, who pulls up in a rickety jalopy to join a group of vacationers, some likable, some not. One shot of a little boy carefully, slowly walking up steps with a fresh ice cream cone in each hand is indelible. Tati's a physical, largely silent gag comedian, but weirdly he's also sexy and cool.

“Tati's masterpiece features some of the funniest and loveliest slapstick imaginable," writes critic Dave Kehr, "yet it is also a work of impressive formal innovation, casting off the tyranny of a plotline in favor of loosely associated tones, episodes, and images. The soundtrack, in which dialogue is subsumed by sound effects, is a masterful piece of musique concrète.”

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More: Genres, Comedy

1 Comment

  • Ryan Sartor | November 18, 2009 6:43 AMReply

    It's playing at the Film Forum in NYC as well: http://www.filmforum.org/films/hulot.html

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