Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Playtime d. Jaques Tati

Our motto is slam your doors in golden silence... We were the first to study silence It's strange that the first two scenes or moments that come to mind after viewing Jacques Tati's Playtime were actually few of the moments where dialogue played a role. Playtime as the sleeve suggests is a largely silent film. This however really only speaks to the relative lack of dialogue. Throughout the film sound does play a major role. Whether it is the infectious theme that pops up and plays throughout, the bustling sound of the city streets of Paris, or the band playing at the end.

I had a vague idea of what I was getting into when I threw in Playtime. I knew that it was going to be a man, attempting to run an errand in Paris, but he would continually be engulfed by the city, or by tourists, or by a combination of the two. What I didn't expect is that I would have a smirk on my face the entire movie through. There were a few laugh out loud moments, but overall, the film was just warm and kept me smiling the whole way through. The sets and streets of Paris are so modern looking that I almost felt like I was watching a film set in the future. For some reason it made me think of Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville but there the streets with no additional effects were made cold. In Playtime through Tati's interaction with his surroundings what I thought of as initially cold in the end left me smiling the whole way through.

I'd highly reccomend this film, if for no other reason than you just don't see anything like this made today. As Johnathon Rosenbaum stated in his essay the sharing of space that we see in this film simply doesn't happen anymore thanks to technology. But beyond that it's just a very engaging and thoughtful film, and though at times the characters look like complete buffoons, at the end I couldn't help but walk away optimistic, even if I didn't know what exactly I was optimistic about.

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