Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jour de Fête

Jacques Tati: Genius Of French Comedy
Jour de Fête (1949)
Preceded by the short L'ecole des facteurs (1947)
Thu, Jan 21, 7:30 pm
YBCA Screening Room

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
has just begun a comprehensive series of the films of Jacques Tati. I went to the 1st program this evening, in the upstairs screening room. There was an audience of about 40, some of them French-speaking. I was a big fan of these movies back in my student days, but I haven't seen most of these in a decade or more. I was pleased to discover that I'm still sympathetic to Tati's slapstick humor & social commentary. Indeed, I think that 60 years has not blunted Tati's warmth or his satirical take on modernity. The audience laughed pretty hard at the fake newsreel demonstrating a pumped American postal service.

Jour de Fête was shown in a reconstructed color version which departs in some important details from the hand-colored black & white version I was familiar with. This was proceeded by a short in which Tati also plays a dutiful rural postman. This ordering spoiled the end of Jour de Fête, however, as it turns out that the speedy delivery routine at the climax of Jour de Fête is lifted wholesale from L'ecole des facteurs. I guess it's a demonstration of Tati's meticulous way of working. I'd like to take in as many of these screenings as I can.

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