Skip to content

Playtime

Jacques Tati made a fitfully long career out of diagnosing and then holding a mirror to normative tendencies in French culture, most famously through his M. Hulot character, who often acts as a foil for the absurdity of everyday life. Playtime, his greatest film, sees Tati again donning his Hulot cap and entering the newly christened shrines of modern capitalism—the sleek and sterile office buildings of Paris. Through a series of nearly-silent gags (although sound is extremely important in the film), Tati skewers the solutionism of the modern workplace—and does so alongside a group of American tourists curious about the latest technologies, which of course heightens the film’s comedy. “Playtime, arguably the most ambitious visual comedy ever made, is hardly traditional—and it is certainly not small. Jacques Tati’s 1967 masterpiece goes far beyond satirizing modern architecture and technology to create a strangely elated celebration of the way people move through space.”—Imogen Sara Smith, Reverse Shot. “In a normal world, one would go out and walk into just any theater to see a film by Jacques Tati.”—Pedro Costa.

Genres: Comedy

Other Films by Jacques Tati

M. Hulot’s Holiday

Tati’s second feature introduces the beloved character Monsieur Hulot, the bumbling, charming, near-silent uncle figure at the heart of his work (including most of his subsequent films—Mon Oncle Amerique, Playtime, Trafic). Sensing a subtle shift in French society during the postwar period, Tati takes Hulot on vacation to the beaches of Southern France—where people are

Jour de fête

Tati’s (M. HULOT’S HOLIDAY) first film frolics through the adventures of François, a rural postman who is the object of ridicule from his fellow townspeople because of his archaic methods. After watching an American film about modern methods, he mounts his beloved bicycle to demonstrate his own progressive ideas for postal efficiency. A film about