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Essential Cinema

“The most visually inventive film of the ’60s is also one of the funniest.”

Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

French comic genius Jacques Tati’s crowning achievement is one of the glories of French cinema and a favourite of many film lovers. Monumental and visionary — and cripplingly expensive (it bankrupted the actor-director) — Playtime was filmed at an elaborate mini-city (nicknamed Tativille) constructed for Tati in a Paris suburb. The narrative setup has hapless M. Hulot (Tati’s character in a series of brilliant films) entangled with a troop of American tourists in a Paris like you’ve never seen before: a modernist mass of gleaming glass, steel, and gadgets. Tati’s wondrous, nearly wordless movie offers an astonishingly imaginative exploration (and send-up) of architecture and antiseptic modern life. Gags teem in every corner; the musique concrète sound is a blast.

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