NYC Jacques Tati retrospective MOMA incl Playtime 12/18 8PM

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Steve Tepperman
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NYC Jacques Tati retrospective MOMA incl Playtime 12/18 8PM

Postby Steve Tepperman » Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:28 pm
The Museum of Modern Art’s retrospective of the French screenwriter, director, and actor Jacques Tati (born Jacques Tatischeff, 1907–1982) features newly struck, gloriously restored 35mm prints of his six feature films—Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday, Playtime, Mon Oncle, his long-dreamed-of colorized version of Jour de fête, the revelatory Traffic, and the little-seen Parade—along with three short sketch films. One of cinema’s greatest comedians, Tati was also one of its most radical modernists. His experiments with sound, color, image, language, and technology are a fundamental, if often overlooked, bridge between the innovations of Buster Keaton and Max Linder in the silent era and those of his contemporaries Jean-Luc Godard, Marguerite Duras, and Robert Bresson—and have had an unmistakable influence on the style and humor of many filmmakers today, from from Roy Andersson to Wes Anderson, Otar Iosseliani to Elia Sylvain, Takeshi Kitano to Sylvan Chomet. Through his long-take, deep-focus, all-over tableaux, a Babel of languages, and a musique concrete of machines gone haywire, Tati creates an entire cosmos, a meticulously choreographed chaos in a Cartesian world, and a singularly new, transformative, and democratic way of experiencing the moving image. In this way, as in so many others, Tati celebrates the importance of being playful. All films are directed by Jacques Tati, from France, and in French with English subtitles, unless otherwise noted.

1967. France/Italy. Directed by Jacques Tati. With Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek. Tati’s towering achievement, a triumph of widescreen space, color, design, and stereophonic sound, has been painstakingly restored to the director’s original full-length vision. Playtime is a gentle, absurdist satire of modern life as homogenized, mechanized, commodified, and voyeuristic, even as it celebrates the pleasures to be discovered in places where we typically spend time waiting. Nöel Burch observed that Playtime is “the first film in the history of cinema that not only must be seen several times, but [also from] different distances from the screen.” In several languages (French, English, German, etc.), without need of subtitles. 126 min.

Friday, December 18, 2009, 8:00 p.m. , Theater 1, T1 (Introduced by Macha Makeïeff and Jérôme Deschamps, founders of Les Films de Mon Oncle)
Tuesday, December 29, 2009, 4:00 p.m. , Theater 1, T1

Film Screenings & Events
Jour de fête (Holiday/The Big Day)
1949. France. Directed by Jacques Tati. With Jacques Tati, Paul Frankeur. In his first masterpiece, Tati plays a bumbling, self-important postman with a reverse Midas touch. Seeking to bring streamlined American efficiency to the delivery of the day’s mail, he instead brings chaos (and hornets) to his sleepy village. The film contrasts the lyrical rhythms of pastoral life with modern-day agitations and urgencies. To his great chagrin, Jour de fête was released in black and white due to a failed new color process; this new colorized version, overseen by his daughter Sophie Tatischeff and cameraman François Ede, painstakingly restores Tati’s original, stunningly vibrant vision. In French; English subtitles. 90 min.

L’École des facteurs (The School for Postmen)
1947. France. Directed by Jacques Tati. With Jacques Tati, Paul Demange. A charming sketch film that was a test run for Jour de fête. In French; English subtitles. 18 min.

Saturday, December 19, 2009, 5:00 p.m. , Theater 1, T1
Saturday, December 26, 2009, 7:30 p.m. , Theater 2, T2

Film Screenings & Events
Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (Mr. Hulot’s Holiday)
1953. France. Directed by Jacques Tati. With Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud. In Tati’s first runaway success, vacationers at a Brittany seaside resort get down to the business of having fun, only to have the unfailingly well-mannered and well-intentioned Monsieur Hulot show up and make a fine mess of things. This newly restored version incorporates Tati’s 1960s re-edits, as well as his 1978 addition of a scene that sends up Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. Restored by La Fondation Thomson pour le Patrimoine du Cinéma et de la Television, La Fondation Groupama Gan, Les Films de Mon Oncle, and La Cinémathèque Française. In French; English subtitles. 88 min.

Saturday, December 19, 2009, 8:00 p.m. , Theater 1, T1
Thursday, December 24, 2009, 4:30 p.m. , Theater 1, T1

Film Screenings & Events
Mon Oncle
1958. France. Directed by Jacques Tati. Screenplay by Jacques Tati, with the artistic collaboration of Jacques Lagrange. With Tati, Jean-Pierre Zola, Adrienne Servantie. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the Jury Prize at Cannes, Tati’s most ingeniously comical film follows Monsieur Hulot, the bohemian uncle of young Gerard Arpel, as he grapples with (and wreaks havoc on) the ultramodern, ultra-hygienic “conveniences” of the Arpels’ automated home. Hulot liberates his nephew from the soulless, stifling, and regimented trappings of modern life—though purely by accident, like everything else he does. Tati simultaneously shot two versions of Mon Oncle, one in English (the one shown in this retrospective) and the other in French, and he considered them distinct works with differing mise en scènes. In French; English subtitles. 116 min.

Sunday, December 20, 2009, 2:30 p.m. , Theater 1, T1
Wednesday, December 23, 2009, 8:00 p.m. , Theater 1, T1

Film Screenings & Events
1974. Sweden/France. Directed by Jacques Tati. A joyous and touching swan song, made for Swedish television, in which Jacques Tati returns to his music-hall roots by saluting that most popular and democratic of art forms: the circus. The film offers a delightful chance to see Tati performing his legendary Sporting Impressions act—as Anthony Lane observed in The New Yorker, “[We] gain a touching sense, as with Buster Keaton, of skills learned and burnished with such graceful application in an artist’s springy youth that, like his best friends, they remain in service through the fall and winter of his career.” In French; English subtitles. 75 min.

Cours du soir (Night Class)
1966. France. Directed by Jacques Tati. Directed by Nicolas Ribowski, Tati. In this comic diversion, made on the set of Playtime, Tati offers a master class in pantomime to a group of overly earnest students. In French; English subtitles. 30 min.

Saturday, December 26, 2009, 4:00 p.m. , Theater 2, T2
Tuesday, December 29, 2009, 1:30 p.m. , Theater 1, T1

Film Screenings & Events
Trafic (Traffic)
1971. France. Directed by Jacques Tati. Screenplay by Jacques Tati, with the artistic collaboration of Jacques Lagrange, Bert Haanstra. With Tati, Maria Kimberly. People get nowhere fast in Tati’s unjustly neglected but hilarious Traffic—perhaps the real revelation of this retrospective. Monsieur Hulot takes his final bow as a Parisian automotive designer who tricks out his Rube Goldberg–like Camping Car with all the latest gadgets and modern conveniences, naturally with calamitous results. Tati’s lifelong fascination with things that move reaches its apogee in this farcical look at modern life coming to a screeching halt. In French; English subtitles. 100 min.

Sunday, December 27, 2009, 2:00 p.m. , Theater 2, T2
Saturday, January 2, 2010, 7:00 p.m. , Theater 2, T2

Film Screenings & Events
Soigne ton gauche
1936. France. Directed by René Clément. Screenplay by Jacques Tati, Jean-Marie Huard. With Tati, Max Martel, Cliville. Young Tati cowrote and starred in this early sketch film that plays on a classic routine of silent-era comedy: the underdog in the boxing ring. In French; English subtitles. 20 min.

Sylvie et le fantôme
1945. France. Directed by Claude Autant-Lara. Screenplay by Jean Aurenche, based on the play by Alfred Adam. With Odette Joyeux, Jacques Tati. Autant-Lara’s lovely and sadly forgotten wartime fantasy stars Joyeux as a beautiful teenage heiress who falls in love with the ghost of her dead grandmother’s lover, charmingly and touchingly played by Tati in a rare appearance in another director’s film. Print courtesy Archives françaises du film and SNC. In French; English subtitles. 90 min.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009, 4:30 p.m. , Theater 1, T1
Friday, January 1, 2010, 7:00 p.m. , Theater 1, T1

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