Mon Oncle

Mon Oncle

4.3 6

Cast: Jacques Tati, Jean-Pierre Zola, Alain Becourt, Adrienne Servantie

     
 

Mon Oncle was the second film (though the first in color) in which director/actor Jacques Tati played the whimsical character of Monsieur Hulot on the screen. The film is a dazzling comic tour de force of intricate slapstick gags and naïve social commentary, stunning technical set pieces, and minimalist staging. The Criterion Collection DVD beautifullySee more details below

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Overview

Mon Oncle was the second film (though the first in color) in which director/actor Jacques Tati played the whimsical character of Monsieur Hulot on the screen. The film is a dazzling comic tour de force of intricate slapstick gags and naïve social commentary, stunning technical set pieces, and minimalist staging. The Criterion Collection DVD beautifully showcases this frequently visually stunning film, with an equally stunning digitally remastered transfer. The high-contrast print is always stable and free of video noise or artifacts. Grain is evident at times, but that has more to do with the film stock used and its vintage than with the pristine and careful transfer given to it. The soundtrack, which has likewise been given a major uplift, sounds full and clear throughout. Tati's use of sound was sophisticated, and frequently the punch line to many of his jokes, so the more clear and resonant the soundtrack the better. The film is offered in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The framing seems fine, but some visual information appears to be slightly compromised during some of the shots (i.e. the opening credits). Overall, the full-screen picture is excellent. Terry Jones gives a brief and fitting introduction to the film (as with Criterion's release of Tati's first feature, M. Hulot's Holiday, 1953), elaborating a bit on Tati's brilliant comedic timing and his deft use of satire. One of Tati's short films, the hilarious L'ecole des facteurs from 1947, is also available and a welcome addition. The disc's French-only mono soundtrack is available with optional English subtitles.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
The sterility of modern, automated life is sent way, way up in Jacques Tati's comic masterpiece Mon Oncle. Tati himself stars as the lazy and affable Monsieur Hulot (the legendary character he created in Mr. Hulot's Holiday) in a series of brilliant vignettes involving Hulot's awkward interaction with his sister's family and their upper-class, futuristic lifestyle. Masterfully framed is his sister's house, a bizarre modern-architecture nightmare overflowing with absurd household gadgetry that automates -- and complicates -- even the simplest chores. It's style over substance and hi-tech as social status -- concepts that are perhaps even more relevant today than they were when the film was made. In stark contrast is the gracious, slow-paced, old-world Parisian lifestyle of the rather frumpy, pipe-smoking, bicycle-riding Hulot. Tati milks this contrast for all it's worth, finding endless ways of making the inhabitants of that strange ultramodern abode seem awkward and ridiculous in their everyday rituals: their very footsteps are an absurdity of staccato clicks on polished stone floors, and pretty much everything in the house makes a buzz when turned on. This inventive use of sound is typically Tati, providing an extra layer of humor and atmosphere to what is at heart a silent film: Hulot has virtually no dialogue, and the gags are mostly visual. The sheer originality of all this is nothing short of genius, rivaling -- and perhaps surpassing -- the work of obvious predecessors like Keaton and Chaplin. Ultimately, Mon Oncle stands as one of the greatest screen comedies -- and one of the cleverest satires of the 20th-century lifestyle -- ever made.
All Movie Guide
Like Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton, France's great comic satirist Jacques Tati plays the role of the bumbling innocent. Tati's irreverent, serio-comic Monsieur Hulot films pit the hero's naive charm against the vagaries of the modern world; nowhere is this theme more overt than in the director's first color film, Mon Oncle. Convoluted technological advances turn up in the most unassuming places, and poor Hulot is typically the brunt of the action. Like Chaplin and Keaton before him, Tati uses the character's inherent mildness and some wonderfully choreographed slapstick comedy to underscore his commentary on humanity versus the changes of modern life. Mon Oncle was widely acclaimed, winning the Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar as well as a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Perfectionist Tati would wait almost a decade before his next feature, the extraordinary Playtime (1967).

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/06/2004
UPC:
0037429155929
Original Release:
1958
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Sound:
[monaural]
Time:
1:56:00

Special Features

Digital transfer, with restored image and sound; Video introduction by writer, director, and performer Terry Jones; "L'école des facteurs," the 1947 short film directed by and starring Jacques Tati; Improved English subtitles translation

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jacques Tati Monsieur Hulot
Jean-Pierre Zola Monsieur Arpel
Alain Becourt Gerald Arpel
Adrienne Servantie Mme. Arpel
Lucien Frégis M. Pichard
Betty Schneider Betty, Landlord's Daughter
Michel Goyot Car Salesman
Yvonne Arnaud Georgette the Maid
Nicolas Bataille Worker
Loriot Actor
Claude Badolle Flea market dealer
Adelaide Danielli Mme. Pichard
André Dino Sweep
Dominique Marie Neighbor
J.F. Martial Walter
Denise Peronne Mademoiselle Fevrier

Technical Credits
Jacques Tati Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Suzanne Baron Editor
Jean Bourgoin Cinematographer
Pierre Etaix Art Director

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapters
1. Opening titles [:10]
2. Two sides of the fence [1:10]
3. The Arpel family [1:48]
4. Cars [2:52]
5. Downtown [1:19]
6. M. Hulot [2:03]
7. The car trick [5:21]
8. A visitor [3:08]
9. "As each night" [3:15]
10. A dishonest scale [1:27]
11. The phone call [2:30]
12. The job interview [2:13]
13. The neighbor [3:29]
14. Dinnertime [3:12]
15. The whistle trick [5:55]
16. "It's always his uncle!" [5:54]
17. Sunday morning downtown [4:07]
18. The garden party [6:55]
19. ...that Evening [14:20]
20. M. Hulot at work [6:51]
21. "Happy anniversary!" [1:57]
22. Red plastic sausages [13:30]
23. An evening on the town [3:37]
24. A good morning [2:58]
25. Goodbye M. Hulot [4:58]
26. The airport [2:01]

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