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Jacques Tati (Panther S) Paperback – July 26, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Panther S
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Random House UK; New Ed edition (July 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860469248
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860469244
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,013,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The best of the year's biographies is Jacques Tati: His Life and Art, in which David Bellos examines with perception and style how the creator of Monsieur Hulot staked a legitimate claim in a rapidly changing medium to the mantle once worn by Chaplin and Keaton"--John Coldstream, Daily Telegraph
-- Review

About the Author

David Bellos is a professor of French and Comparative Literature at Princeton where he is also director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication. He won the Prix Goncourt de la Biographie for George Perec: A Life in Words. He also won the IBM-France prize for his translated W or The Memory of Childhood, Things: A Story of the Sixties and 53 Days, all major works by George Perec. In 2005 he won the Man Booker International translator's award for his translations of several works by the Albanian novelist Ismail Kadare.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Tosh Berman/TamTam Books on November 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
David Bellos and Jacques Tati: What an odd combination. The odd thing about it is that David Bellos is a much-respected translator of French writer Georges Perec's novels, in addition to being Perec's biographer, and he's a much-admired expert on French literature. So why would he be interested in writing a biography of one of cinema's great clowns, Jacques Tati, especially when Bellos admits he is not a film fanatic and feels that if he had met Tati, he wouldn't have been able to spend more than five minutes in conversation with the man? Bellos cites his interest in Tati's artistry and his place in what the author calls "the trente glorieuses -- the 30 glorious years of rising prosperity in France from 1945 to 1975." These are the years during which Tati did his amazing work. He was not only one of the great filmmakers but also an artist who commented on humankind's interest and need for work and leisure -- with hilarious results. And his set designs have been a hit with architects around the world.
There is nothing more moderne than a Tati film. Tati made fun of the French love for le gadget: everything from Le Corbusier-style chaises longues to cars that had grills suitable for barbecuing. Jacques Tati is weak as a biography, insofar as Bellos doesn't get into Tati's head, but the book is strong when Bellos writes about Tati's films and his Kubrick-like madness in waiting for the perfect shot, perfect moment, perfect anything. Like Kubrick, Tati was an unforgiving perfectionist, and although he was a funnyman on film, Tati was quite moody and depressed during the shoots. His single-minded intensity in getting the film he wanted eventually destroyed him financially; for the masterpiece Playtime, Tati built a small modern city as a set, which caused his accountant to flip his lid.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Bellos presents the itinerary of a life and something more of a career, but Jacques Tati remains largely a mystery. I'll reread this biography, ignoring the narrow, academic view of intellect and flawless, postwar judgments of wartime behavior, and I'll recommend it to others. But I'll continue to hope that someone will write a life of Tati filled with scenes as revealing and eloquent as Hulot's resetting of a brick in a crumbling Paris wall.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jack Eason on January 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Far from producing a well-informed biography of France's greatest cinematic clown, Jacques Tati, instead Bellos ruthlessly dissects. Despite his clinical approach, there is just enough tantalising information about Tati, the brilliant creator of Monsieur Hulot, to hold my attention.

Do I really want to know about the various colour film processes available in France? Not really. Nor do I want to read yet again about the dire financial straits France found itself in after World War I, as well as what was going on in Europe during the years before and after World War II! Acres of text have already been written concerning these times and events.

When I purchase a book purportedly written about one of my all-time favourite comedic heroes, I fully expect to read about the man - nothing else. But instead it seems to me that Bellos has turned his book into an intellectual diatribe against Tati, coldly ripping his memory apart. In fact Bellos is more like a mortician, clinically wishing to expose the body lying on the slab before him by carving it up to look at its many parts, rather than appreciate the whole. He appears to think of Jacques Tati as nothing more than a mere coincidence in the scheme of things, when in fact the reverse is true.

Now if only someone would write a truly worthwhile biography of Jacques...
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By sumirama0ne@aol.com on March 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
don't expect to read the normal gossip-laden biography. this is a most serious text detailing the comic genius and cinematic philosophy of the brilliant and (almost) tragic actor/director.
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