Mon Oncle, M Hulot's Holiday, Play Time and Lost in TranslationRecently I checked out an old favourite, a misty memory from childhood: Mon Oncle, written and directed by Jacques Tati.
We saw it - Mum, my sister Karen and me - at Auckland's Academy Theatre around 20 years ago. It's so funny in a very gentle way.
I watched Tati's other films, Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot, and Play Time, as well as some other shorts included on the special features.
What a wonderful universe Tati unveils! This is a world where words aren't really that important, and the rules of physics don't necessarily apply. It's hard to describe Tati's humour, it just is. It's not belly-laugh stuff - not very often, anyway - but it is very, very funny.
It just so happened that my next film to watch was Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation, and I found Coppola was speaking the same visual language as Tati - particularly the scenes where Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanssen are puzzling over the manic, constant movement that is Tokyo.
...and the story and the acting were good too. That's an understatement. This was a beautiful story, I'm not sure about what - which may be why this film did better overseas than in the USA - but it had the feeling of authenticity to it.
It was particularly good in creating a huge fuzzy question mark on the line between platonic and romantic love. In a bittersweet way, this is a feel-good film, and although the story's end is very ambiguous, we sense both characters have grown from the time they spent together.
Technically - well done team. Stunning visuals, tight editing, great acting etc. etc. - all on a 4 million dollar budget. Nice work.
A pity Tati wasn't here to see it. He might have liked it.