Tati. Tati has a very small filmography but was certainly a style-plus director with a distinct look and a tight marriage to mise-en-scene and comedic architectural set-up. The consistency in his work is worth more than someone who had a higher scoring filmography but made films that could have been directed by another craftsman. Tati films are Tati films. I’m also very close to a masterpiece on both Mon Oncle and Playtime. I’d be surprised if another visit of each doesn’t take them from strong “must-see” (typically reserved for the best 5-8 films of a year) film to “Masterpiece” (typically reserved to the top 1-3 movies per year depending on the strength of the year).
Best film: Mon Oncle– it’s a more narratively polished than Playtime and I think the satire and meticulous arrangements are nearly as good. It’s a wonderful film.
total archiveable films: 5
top 100 films: 0
top 500 films: 3 (Mon Oncle, Playtime, Mr. Hulot’s Holiday)
top 100 films of the decade: 3 (Mon Oncle, Playtime, Mr. Hulot’s Holiday)
most overrated: Playtime is #46 all-time on the TSPDT consensus list and I’m a couple hundred spots below that. That said, I’m really excited for the next viewing.
most underrated: Mon Oncle is #416 on TSPDT and since I’m basically saying it’s a masterpiece this is underrated for me.—I’ve got it at 276.
gem I want to spotlight: Mr Hulot’s Holiday. This is such a gentle, funny, and nostalgic movie. I think it’s essential viewing if you’re a fan of Mon Oncle and playtime.
stylistic innovations/traits: Like Keaton and Chaplin before him Tati has both trademarks as an auteur and as a comedic performer. As a performer he’s got his pipe-puffing silent dead-pan persona (much more Keaton than Chaplin- who is more emotive). Tati kept silent cinema alive (with some genius-level sound additions to his films) 40+ years after The Jazz Singer. He’s wed to mise-en-scene and set design in general. He’s a formal innovator, clear perfectionist, and has a profound wisdom working in social satire.
- Mon Oncle
- Mr. Hulot’s Holiday
- Jour De Fête
By year and grades
|1949- Jour De Fête||R|
|1953- Mr. Hulot’s Holiday||MS|
|1958- Mon Oncle||MS|
*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film
MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film
HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film
R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives
I have to push you a little on Playtime, unfortunately sitting at #284 of all-time. Its formally copacetic and features a radiant production design but its Tati’s ravishing mise-en-scene, one of the most muscular uses of mise-en-scene in cinematic history that stands amongst the strongest exercises in that category and transcends the film to all-timer masterpiece status.
@Nathan — really well put. My buddy Matt Harris would agree with you. I don’t mind sharing that I was quite struck by the images when preparing this page. I look forward to my next rewatch.