Monday, January 25, 2010

The Magnificent Tati

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.


Michael said...

Dear Alex,

Thank you very much for the mention in your blog. I am very glad you managed to get into the screening on Sunday, I myself was surprised at the turn out, wonderful that Jacques Tati is still of interest in America.

If you are a real Tati fan you should google 'The Illusionist' by Sylvain Chomet, after 6 years of ups and downs this new animated feature will come out on Feb 16 at the Berlin Film Festival, it features Jacques Tati as the star (in animated form) and is based on a script Tati wrote in the late 1950s.

Aside from the Tati connection 'The Illusionist' is of interest to anyone who likes animation, I think it will be a very special film because Chomet is not your everyday filmmaker.

Again thanks for coming to the screening on Sunday.

-Michael House

Axel Feldheim said...

Michael: Thanks for finding me & for bringing your movie to the YBCA. It really succeeds in sparking a desire to see Tati's films again. & thanks for reminding us about The Illusionist. I should have mentioned it. I will be on the look-out for it.