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film 5 of 6

Mon Oncle

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 29, 2015

I love this film! Have we made this observation? Writer/director/star Jacques Tati’s movies seem especially apt for bright, happy, curious little kids, or for PhDs. They make for the very best bouts of family cinema, but they’ll also sustain the most rigourous theoretical scrutiny that you could possibly apply. They are simple, direct and sweet, but they may also melt your brain with their awe-inspiring expanse and exactitude.

I think we’ve said this bit too. Tati’s critiques against modernity are a bit ironic, given that he’s such an arch, definitive Modernist himself. Ironic and a little bit pat too—the Arpel’s inhumanly synthetic, resident-unfriendly nightmare house is a marvel of comic invention, and it’s unfair. It’s a straw man, in fact.  Similarly, the superannuated old Parisian neighbourhood that Tati pits against so-called progress is almost ridiculously idealized.

Noted. Who cares? So-o many special things here. The car accident (sort of). The sweeper who never sweeps. The dog and the fish. The other dog, who seems to be a neurotic. When the bourgeois lady nearly falls. The one shot, and you’ll know it when you see it, when Tati’s Hulot character walks all the way up and around and through that building. Depth, and duration. The whistle trick!

I’m scratching the surface. We love this film!