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).

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social satire through modern architecture in Playtime

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.

meticulously patterned set design, sound effect gags, and formal repetition

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.

Tati’s grandest image here in Playtime

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.

Tati’s comic diorama– an influence on many auteurs from Hitchcock (this is the year before Rear Window to Wes Anderson)

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.

one of cinema’s great mise-en-scene designers– a perfectionist who completed only five films as director

top 10

  1. Mon Oncle
  2. Playtime
  3. Mr. Hulot’s Holiday
  4. Traffic
  5. Jour De Fête

By year and grades

1949- Jour De Fête R
1953- Mr. Hulot’s Holiday MS
1958- Mon Oncle MS
1967- Playtime MS
1971- Traffic

*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