• Jacques Tati reprises his iconic M. Hulot character for his 1967 classic 'PlayTime' (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies
Classic films from the French comic trailblazer – and a contemporary animation based on one of his unproduced screenplays – screening on SBS World Movies & SBS On Demand.
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SBS Movies

2 Jul 2019 - 4:49 PM  UPDATED 18 Jun 2020 - 10:41 AM

French mime-turned-filmmaker Jacques Tati wrote, directed and starred in only five feature films (spanning from 1949's Jour de fête to 1971's Trafic) but the influence of his brand of elaborate visual humour is immense: David Lynch and Wes Anderson are among his biggest fans. As performer, Tati donned an overcoat, pipe and hat to play his iconic Monsieur Hulot character in each of those five features, including 1967's Playtime, an infamously difficult production and box office flop that's now regarded as his masterpiece. Over the coming months, the newly launched SBS World Movies screens Jour de fête, PlayTime, M. Hulot's HolidayMon Oncle, Trafic, as well as his 1974 made-for-TV film Parade and the Oscar-nominated 2010 animation The Illusionist, based on an unproduced script by Tati and directed by Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville). 

Jour de fête

Leaving SBS On Demand: Tuesday 30 June, midnight

G
France, 1949
Genre: Comedy
Language: French
Director: Jacques Tati
Starring: Jacques Tati, Guy Decomble, Paul Frankeur
What's it about?
Tati's debut feature tells the story of an inept and easily-distracted French mailman who frequently interrupts his duties to converse with the local inhabitants, as well as inspect the traveling fair that has come to his small community. Influenced by too much wine and a newsreel account of rapid transportation methods used by the United States postal system, he goes to hilarious lengths to speed the delivery of mail while aboard his bicycle.

Monsieur Hulot's Holiday

Leaving SBS On Demand: Tuesday 30 June, midnight

G
France, 1953
Genre: Comedy
Language: English, French
Director: Jacques Tati
Starring: Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Micheline Rolla
What's it about?
Monsieur Hulot, Tati’s endearing clown, takes a holiday at a seaside resort, where his presence provokes one catastrophe after another. Tati’s masterpiece of gentle slapstick is a series of effortlessly well-choreographed sight gags involving dogs, boats, and firecrackers; it was the first entry in the Hulot series and the film that launched its maker to international stardom.

Mon Oncle

Leaving SBS On Demand: Tuesday 30 June, midnight

G
France, 1958
Genre: Comedy
Language: French
Director: Jacques Tati
Starring: Jacques Tati, Jean-Pierre Zola, Adrienne Servantie
What's it about?
Genial, bumbling Monsieur Hulot loves his top-floor apartment in a grimy corner of the city, and cannot fathom why his sister's family has moved to the suburbs. Their house is an ultra-modern nightmare, which Hulot only visits for the sake of stealing away his rambunctious young nephew. Hulot's sister, however, wants to win him over to her new way of life, and conspires to set him up with a wife and job. Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

PlayTime

Leaving SBS On Demand: Wednesday 24 July, 3pm 

PG
France, 1967
Genre: Comedy
Language: French, German, English
Director: Jacques Tati
Starring: Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, Rita Maiden, France Rumilly
What's it about?
Monsieur Hulot finds himself perplexed by the intimidating complexity of a gadget-filled Paris. He attempts to meet with a business contact but soon becomes lost. His roundabout journey parallels that of an American tourist, and as they weave through the inventive urban environment, they intermittently meet, developing an interest in one another. They eventually get together at a chaotic restaurant, along with several other quirky characters.

Trafic

Leaving SBS On Demand Tuesday 30 June, midnight

G
France, Italy, 1971
Genre: Comedy
Language: French
Director: Jacques Tati
Starring: Jacques Tati, Tony Knepper, Maria Kimberly, Marcel Fraval, Honoré Bostel, François Maisongrosse
What's it about?
Hulot is the head designer of the Altra Automotive Company. His latest invention is a newfangled camper car loaded with outrageous extra features. Along with the company's manager and publicity model, Hulot sets out from Paris with the intention of debuting the car at the annual auto show in Amsterdam. The going isn't easy, however, and the group encounters an increasingly bizarre series of hurdles and setbacks en route.

Parade

Leaving SBS On Demand: Saturday 18 July, 4:15pm

G
France, Sweden, 1974
Genre: Family, Comedy
Language: French
Director: Jacques Tati
Starring: Jacques Tati, Michèle Brabo, Karl Kossmayer, Pierre Brama, Pia Colombo, Johnny Lonn
What's it about?
Two children go behind the scenes of a small circus in Tati's final directorial effort, a filmed circus performance broadcast on French television in 1974.

The Illusionist

Leaving SBS On Demand: Tuesday 30 June, midnight

PG
France, 2010
Genre: Comedy, Animation
Language: French
Director: Sylvain Chomet
Starring: Jean-Claude Donda, Eilidh Rankin, Duncan MacNeil
What's it about?
Details the story of a dying breed of stage entertainer whose thunder is being stolen by emerging rock stars. Forced to accept increasingly obscure assignments in fringe theaters, garden parties and bars, he meets a young fan who changes his life forever. This Oscar-nominated animated feature was based on an unproduced screenplay by Jacques Tati, and directed by Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville).

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