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JACQUES TATI

(Jacques Tatischeff)

France

Born: Le Pecq, France, 9 October 1908.
Died: Paris, France, 5 November 1982.


Jacques Tati (JPG, 18 KB)

Jacques Tati is a chessmaster of modern film comedy, a creator of complex comic structures in which gag constructions and audience expectations become pawns on his cinematic board. The recurring figure in these games is Monsieur Hulot (played by the director), a blank-faced comic cypher garbed in a crumbled raincoat and ill-fitting trousers, an ever-present pipe muffling any words he may say, an umbrella clutched in indecisive hands. His determinedly irresolute stride across Tati's expansive canvases is the unlikely spark that sets the comic machinery afire. On the basis of a mere four features (Mr. Hulot's Holiday, 1953; Mon Oncle, 1958; Playtime, 1967; and Traffic, 1972) over a 20-year period, Tati managed to reshape slapstick comedy, turning it into an intellectual parlor game.

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