Archive for April 13th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(France 1967 125m) DVD1/2

Appointment with Monsieur Giffard

p  Rene Silvera  d  Jacques Tati  w  Jacques Tati, Jacques Lagrange  ph  Jean Badal, Andreas Winding  ed  Gérard Pollicand  m  Francis Lemarque  art  Eugene Roman

Jacques Tati (Mons.Hulot), Barbara Dennek (female tourist), Jacqueline Lecomte (her friend), Valerie Camille (Mons.Lacs’ secretary), Leon Doyen (porter), Georges Montant (Mons.Giffard), John Abbey (Mons.Lacs), Henri Piccoli, Yves Barsacq, France Rumilly,

Watching Jacques Tati’s most personal masterpiece can be an unsettling experience.  When I first saw it I can honestly say that I was underwhelmed, but then again I was only eighteen, and it was seen in a panned and scanned, bleached out print with inadequate sound.  It was like viewing the Sistine Chapel ceiling through a distorted, unclean mirror.  And if comparisons with such masterpieces of earlier arts seem distinctly flattering, they do both share one thing in common; an amazing depth of perspective and detail to put most artists/filmmakers to shame.  Just as Michelangelo’s ceiling contains little details which could not be seen by original visitors to Christianity’s Mecca, there are small intrinsic little details in Tati’s work that can only be noticed on the umpteenth viewing and even then may slip by unnoticed.  Tati’s classic sometimes does not seem like a film at all, with its virtually stationery cameras and seeming abhorrence of close-ups, it’s like the film is not so much edited together, as controlled by a director watching the action through dozens of different close circuit cameras in a control room, with cries of “switch to camera fourteen” to try and keep Hulot’s wanderings in sight.  (more…)

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