Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...

Country Mouse vs. City Mouse.

Jacques Tati is a brilliant filmmaker, one who begs to be see on the big screen. His work, simple funny little films about the joys of a quiet life, really only works in the darkened cinemas.

Unfortunately I have only been able to see one of his films in a theater, his masterpiece Playtime, and yesterday I watched the earlier Mon Oncle on DVD. Mon Oncle is a sweet, quiet look at Monsieur Hulot's relationship with his nephew and with modernity. Like the recurring dogs he traverses both the rapidly developing Parisian areas and his own more pastoral existence in a little
neighborhood where birds sing if you shine the light just right. Viewed in 1958 this must have been felt a warning, Tati showing what would happen. But now it is elegy to a bygone time.

The film features many great set pieces, including a fabulous factory sequence involving plastic piping that looks like sausage, but it is the small funny moments that will go on like the dog growling at the "angry" fishhead.

In the world we live in, the world Tati warned us about, it is far to easy to be distracted from one of his films. That is why the cinema is still ideal for its viewing. In the darkened room, in silence with a big audience the laughter becomes infectious and there is nothing to draw you away from Tati's unobtrusive films. If I ever start that cinematheque I know one of the first programs we'll have must be the films of Jacques Tati. Each one wonderful examples of the greatness of the cinema.

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