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Brandon Burke

Paging M. Hulot.....

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Has anyone bought M. Hulot's Holiday (or even seen it) since it was reissued on the 6th? I've seen Mon Oncle and Playtime on my local shelves but no one seems to have M. Hulot. I'm wondering if it was delayed for some reason or another.

Thanks,

b.

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I couldn't say as I've turned into a mail order/internet kind of video buyer. I rarely see that much more than the latest blockbuster or TV series release in the stores. Here it is listed at Critics Choice Video. Can't wait to see this one; I know it only by reputation!

Critics Choice Video

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I couldn't say as I've turned into a mail order/internet kind of video buyer.  I rarely see that much more than the latest blockbuster or TV series release in the stores.  Here it is listed at Critics Choice Video.  Can't wait to see this one; I know it only by reputation!

Critics Choice Video

That link didn't work for me but I trust you. The Amazon site (or maybe it was Tower) has it listed but still under the 2001 release date, so they may simply have the same one up from years ago. The same one that went OOP. I'm simply dying to get this thing. I bought the other two way back when but blew off M. Hulot simply because I'd seen it so many times, didn't assume it was in danger of going OOP, and was more excited to see the others.

Lesson learned.

Anyways, thanks. I prefer to buy from my local retailer rather than online. Their prices are the same. I like these guys. And, once shipping is factored in, it's all the same. More importantly......I've got credit there. B)

Lastly, I suggest you see this film ASAP. One of my all time faves without question. Who knew that the sound of a kitchen door opening and closing ["thoomp....thoomp.....thoomp...."] could serve as the focal point of a comedy? Brilliant.......

Edited by Brandon Burke

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I went to see M. Hulot's Holiday when I was in college, and this old woman in front of me made a comment out loud to her friend with every sight gag, about once a minute. I think she quit from exhaustion!

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One of the few French films actually worth seeing! ( :rolleyes: )

Seriously, you should see this ASAP, Moose. A unique pleasure. And I could swear that's either Sidney Bechet or a Bechet imitator on the soundtrack.

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Is Tati one of those things you either get or don't?

I've tried. I recognize the brilliance. I'm a bit of a student of all forms of humor and the "science" thereof, so I understand what his deal is, and how superbly he does it. But I just don't laugh.

I'll keep trying, though.

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I wouldn't say Tati is a "belly-laugh" type of artist. Much of his humor elicits appreciative smiles and occasional chuckles more than the hearty "loud" laugh. (Though I have to say there are more "laugh-out-loud" moments in Hulot's Holiday than in any of his other films.) Another thing I've got to say is if you've only seen Tati on video you may be missing half the laughs. I've seen Hulot's Holiday on the big screen and on video, and was amazed at how LESS funny it was on the TV screen. I strongly suspect that all his films play better (and funnier) on the big (i.e., theater) screen.

Then again, some people don't like Wodehouse, either. To each his own.

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I wouldn't say Tati is a "belly-laugh" type of artist.  Much of his humor elicits appreciative smiles and occasional chuckles more than the hearty "loud" laugh.

Yup, that's pretty much what I would have said. It's similar to the way I feel when I watch A Shot in the Dark or Dr. Strangelove. I seldom laugh out loud at those films either but would still call them brilliant and hilarious all the same.

Edited by Brandon Burke

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Wow...A Shot in the Dark has me rollin' on the floor! Though I agree that Dr. Strangelove is more of a "wry smile" movie.

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Wow...A Shot in the Dark has me rollin' on the floor! Though I agree that Dr. Strangelove is more of a "wry smile" movie.

Yeah, as soon as Sellers trying to put his hand on the globe, I am laughing! (and I have seen that gag sooo many times thru the years!)

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I wouldn't say Tati is a "belly-laugh" type of artist.  Much of his humor elicits appreciative smiles and occasional chuckles more than the hearty "loud" laugh.

Yup, that's pretty much what I would have said. It's similar to the way I feel when I watch A Shot in the Dark or Dr. Strangelove. I seldom laugh out loud at those films either but would still call them brilliant and hilarious all the same.

Hmmm.. I laugh at loud at those movies, especially Strangelove, which never, ever fails to crack me up big time. I'm not at all averse to more subtle forms of humor, either. But for me, I guess Tati's "sub-subtle", too low in the mix to engage me at any level. Seriously, every time I rent one of his films, it takes me several attempts to get through them without falling asleep. EVERY time.

The point about big-screen vs tv is interesting, though. I can see how the subliminal impact of the bigger screen might have an effect on the cognizant perception. Also, is ther some subtext to his work that I'm not picking up on, some context that frames the whole thing that I haven't caught on to yet?

I appreciate the skill, craftsmanship, timing, and all that, I'm just not even as much as slightly amused by the guy after 15 minutes or so, and I feel like I'm missing something. I dunno, it just seems lighter-than-light to me, and I think I need some kind of counterweight to hold my interest, some dark side, or something. I asked a friend of mine who had lived in France for a while what the deal with Tati was, and he said, "It's a purely French thing. Simple as that." Maybe so. Maybe I CAN'T get it. Nobody gets everything, I suppose.

No disrespect for Tati or anything like that intended, although it might sound otherwise. If what you see is what you get, then I guess it is one of those things you either get or you don't.

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Also, is ther some subtext to his work that I'm not picking up on, some context that frames the whole thing that I haven't caught on to yet?

Tati's big deal (esp. with the Hulot character) is man's realtionship with technology and modernism. Take Mon Oncle for example. You've got Hulot's apartment juxtaposed by the ultra-modern house his sister(?) lives in. You'll notice that there is an entirely different musical soundtrack for each environment. And this is to say nothing of the hideous sound that that fountain makes. The irony, of course, being that the purpose of a fountain is to beautify. Playtime's commentary on modernism is more pronounced and rather obvious. M. Hulot's Holiday--I should have started with this one--is focussed less on modernism and more on simple things like doors, folding chairs, automobiles and such. (Which, in their own way, are technology as well and I think Tati sought to point this out.)

Check out this essay on Hulot's Holiday. It sums up Tati's aesthetic rather well.

Edited by Brandon Burke

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Jim, I'm not expecting bellylaughs from this one myself. Here's the first paragraph from a Roger Ebert* essay on the movie that relates to this issue:

The first time I saw Jacques Tati's Mr. Hulot's Holiday, I didn't laugh as much as I thought I was supposed to. But I didn't forget the film, and saw it again in a film class, and then bought the laser disc and saw it a third time and a fourth time, and by then it had become part of my treasure. But I still didn't laugh as much as I thought I was supposed to, and now I think I understand why. It is not a comedy of hilarity, but a comedy of memory, nostalgia, fondness, and good cheer. There are some real laughs in it, but Mr. Hulot's Holiday gives us something rarer: an amused affection for human nature-so odd, so valuable, so particular.

*My apologies to anyone who automatically rejects Eberts' opinion because he has a TV show; I'll try not to quote him too often! ;)

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All this talk was too much for me; I just ordered a copy, along with a couple of others from my "Gee, I'd like to see those someday!" list: Peeping Tom and Vivre Sa Vie. Can't wait!

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Also, is ther some subtext to his work that I'm not picking up on, some context that frames the whole thing that I haven't caught on to yet?

Tati's big deal (esp. with the Hulot character) is man's realtionship with technology and modernism. Take Mon Oncle for example. You've got Hulot's apartment juxtaposed by the ultra-modern house his sister(?) lives in. You'll notice that there is an entirely different musical soundtrack for each environment. And this is to say nothing of the hideous sound that that fountain makes. The irony, of course, being that the purpose of a fountain is to beautify. Playtime's commentary on modernism is more pronounced and rather obvious. M. Hulot's Holiday--I should have started with this one--is focussed less on modernism and more on simple things like doors, folding chairs, automobiles and such. (Which, in their own way, are technology as well and I think Tati sought to point this out.)

Check out this essay on Hulot's Holiday. It sums up Tati's aesthetic rather well.

Yeah, I got all that, an dI get Ebert's points as well. Do I lose whatever credibility I have left if mention that I even see the huge influence that Tati had on the visual element of Jeryy Lewis' better directorial work? (maybe my friend ws right about the "French" thing) I get the "theory" of it all but I just haven't connected w/Tati. I guess this is one of those things where I'm doomed to be on the outside looking in.

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Back to the original post, as I understand Playtime has not been reissued yet, just the other two. And they are readily available at all the online vendors.

I just saw a 70mm print of an extended version of Playtime last week at the Egyptian Theatre here - it is really beautiful and grand. But there are only 3 or 4 "laugh loudly" moments. I think the others have captured it pretty well - lots of chuckles, moments of recognition, comedy of memory (great phrase). And a lot of gags take a while - an accretion of observation and repeated behaviors that are shown to be ridiculous or magical. The ending of Playtime, for example - pure magic, and with the introduction of color where the rest of the film (while color) has been very limited to hues of grey. But nothing announces it dramatically - you just suddenly realize after a few shots that everything is different, and that the Paris roundabout is filled with life & joy.

The soundtracks of his films are all marvelous, not just the score, but effects, etc.

Anyway, I hope the reason Criterion hasn't reissued Playtime is that they will reissue it with this new 126 minutes version, whcih is longer than their previous DVD version.

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I guess this is one of those things where I'm doomed to be on the outside looking in.

That's how I feel about Hank Mobley. Its really sad... :(

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I asked a friend of mine who had lived in France for a while what the deal with Tati was, and he said, "It's a purely French thing. Simple as that."

French thing? Is this the same bullshit as this English humor thing? Hulot is worth the $ for the sounds alone.

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Not sure of your point, rockefeller center. Hell, I took a jazz class once...

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Shit...I need that one to graduate! Where do I sign up?

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Back to the original post, as I understand Playtime has not been reissued yet, just the other two.

I just saw Playtime like two days ago. It was definately reissued. Believe me. I pay attention to these things.

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Also, is ther some subtext to his work that I'm not picking up on, some context that frames the whole thing that I haven't caught on to yet?

Tati's big deal (esp. with the Hulot character) is man's realtionship with technology and modernism. Take Mon Oncle for example. You've got Hulot's apartment juxtaposed by the ultra-modern house his sister(?) lives in. You'll notice that there is an entirely different musical soundtrack for each environment. And this is to say nothing of the hideous sound that that fountain makes. The irony, of course, being that the purpose of a fountain is to beautify. Playtime's commentary on modernism is more pronounced and rather obvious. M. Hulot's Holiday--I should have started with this one--is focussed less on modernism and more on simple things like doors, folding chairs, automobiles and such. (Which, in their own way, are technology as well and I think Tati sought to point this out.)

Check out this essay on Hulot's Holiday. It sums up Tati's aesthetic rather well.

Yeah, I got all that, an dI get Ebert's points as well. Do I lose whatever credibility I have left if mention that I even see the huge influence that Tati had on the visual element of Jeryy Lewis' better directorial work? (maybe my friend ws right about the "French" thing) I get the "theory" of it all but I just haven't connected w/Tati. I guess this is one of those things where I'm doomed to be on the outside looking in.

The recipe for an enjoyable evening:

Get a bottle of red wine--I recommend the French rhone PERRIN both for its complexity and its affordability--sit back, and appreciete life through Tati's lens. Don't expect knee-slapping hilarity. That's not the point. Tati presents the comedy of 'the everyday'. You'll notice that his camera angles don't show any preference to the main character. In fact, despite Hulot, there are no main characters in any Tatil Hulot film. Just a seemingly random presentation of folks coping with technology.

Don't forget: the Hulot character was never meant to understand that he was being funny. He has no idea that he's being filmed. He's just going about his business. It's almost documentary-like......

In my mind, that's the best way to go about absorbing the world that is Tati.

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Back to the original post, as I understand Playtime has not been reissued yet, just the other two.

I just saw Playtime like two days ago. It was definately reissued. Believe me. I pay attention to these things.

Hi Brandon,

It's very odd. I just looked at the Criterion New Release page, and Playtime is not listed, but Hulot's Holiday & Mon Oncle are listed. Playtime is also not listed under Coming Soon.

I also just looked at Amazon, and the only copies of Playtime available are used copies of the original Criterion DVD - cheapest price is $75.

My guess is that various copies of the previous DVD edition are being sold as used, because everyone is expecting that Criterion will soon be releasing the new version. Some could be in mint condition, as I think people bought up copies when Criterion announced that it would be going OOP, to sell later.

Also, it is possible that that was an original release that has simply never sold.

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