The Magnificent Tati
By Michael House
Sun, Jan 24, 2 Pm
YBCA Screening Room
I felt like Charlie Brown when I stepped up to the box office window & was informed that the lady in front of me just got the last ticket. I never thought a documentary about Jacques Tati would sell out! Fortunately I soon obtained a ticket from someone who had an extra one to dispose of.
This was the U.S. premiere of The Magnificent Tati, Michael House's affectionate introduction to the films of Tati. It's a 1 hour documentary, consisting mostly of brief film clips & interviews with Tati admirers. The documentary's main goal is simply to whet people's appetites for the films themselves. It presents Tati as an artistic genius who achieved his full creative vision in Playtime, & yet this turned out to be something of a misfortune.
Mr. House was present at the screening & cheerfully took questions from the audience afterward. While he frequently referred to a wealth of material he was not able to fit into his film, he was pointedly not interested in discussions about Tati's personal life or his activities during WWII.
I found that I liked Mr. House's own back story, which is that he is a film composer who has happily switched to making movies. He's apparently a one-man production company, pitching ideas, researching, writing, getting financial backers, even doing all the editing & post-production on his laptop.
The Jacques Tati series continues at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts & the Pacific Film Archive.