M. Hulot’s Holiday

Movie Information

In Brief: As a mere boy, I bumped into Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle on television — and didn’t like it. Many years later, I saw part of his Traffic — and didn’t like it. With that, I wrote off Tati’s work as something just not for me. And it was with that in mind that I faced seeing M. Hulot’s Holiday (from 1953) for the first time. But a miracle seems to have occurred: Somewhere in the intervening years, either Tati had gotten better, or my tastes had changed remarkably (owing to the age of this film alone, it has to have been the latter). Whatever the case, M. Hulot’s Holiday is an unalloyed delight of a movie! It’s rarely hysterically funny, but it is constantly charming. There’s really no plot: Tati as M. Hulot (who would become his recurring character) arrives at a seaside resort and proceeds to accidentally cause no end of trouble, despite the best of intentions. That’s about all there is to it, but there needn’t be any more. Tati barely speaks; he doesn’t need to. No one but Chaplin was ever so physically expressive with so little apparent effort. Indeed, there are several moments in the film that are worthy of Chaplin. But Tati is a more generous artist, and often gives his movies over to the other players. This is a glorious work — visually sumptuous and shot in absolutely shimmering black and white, which gives the French coastal town great appeal. A true comedy masterpiece that’s not to be missed. This excerpt was taken from a review by Ken Hanke published on Sept. 22, 2004.
Genre: Comedy
Director: Jacques Tati
Starring: Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Michelle Rolla, Valentine Camax, Louis Perrault
Rated: NR

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present M. Hulot’s Holiday on Friday, Feb. 3, at 8 p.m. at Flood Gallery Fine Art Center, 2160 Hwy 70, Swannanoa. 

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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