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Playtime (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1967)

Jacques Tati , Barbara Dennek , Jacques Tati  |  Unrated |  Blu-ray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

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Playtime (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + M. Hulot's Holiday (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, Rita Maiden, France Rumilly, France Delahalle
  • Directors: Jacques Tati
  • Writers: Jacques Tati, Art Buchwald, Jacques Lagrange
  • Producers: Bernard Maurice, René Silvera
  • Format: Blu-ray, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: The Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: August 18, 2009
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002AFX532
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,856 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Playtime (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Jacques Tati's gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in the age of technology reached their creative apex with Playtime. For this monumental achievement, a nearly three-year-long, bank-breaking production, Tati again thrust the endearingly clumsy, resolutely old-fashioned Monsieur Hulot, along with a host of other lost souls, into a bafflingtly modernist Paris. With every inch of its superwide frame crammed with hilarity and inventiveness, Playtime is a lasting testament to a modern age tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Why was Playtime a failure, sending Jacques Tati into bankruptcy and costing him control over his life's work of films? His previous film, My Uncle, had been a commercial and artistic success. M. Hulot's Holiday and Jour de Fete had gained Tati world-wide recognition and respect. He had become recognized as one of the few authentic geniuses of film.

Watch Playtime and I think you'll find the answer. Tati in his earlier films placed Hulot in situations where we could empathize with him. Hulot was an innocent. As we came to like him, we also came to like the people he encountered. Even with their pretensions and idiosyncrasies, we could see something of ourselves in them. Tati might be holding up a mirror for us to look in, but M. Hulot was such a gentle companion that we smiled as we recognized ourselves.

With Playtime, there is little Hulot. Instead, we have Tati's view on all sorts of social and cultural issues, from the sterility he saw in much of modern life to modern architecture, group behavior, impersonal offices, loneliness, boorishness and American tourists. We're observers, and our job is to share Tati's viewpoint. Hulot, now middle-aged, has become a minor player in the film. In his earlier movies, Tati was careful to give us small numbers of people with whom, along with Hulot, we could come to know. In My Uncle, for instance, it was essentially one family and one modern home, along with Hulot's own apartment and his neighbors. In M. Hulot's Holiday, it was a small seaside hotel and its guests. With Playtime, we have a large, impersonal office building, all glass and right angles, filled with people -- employees, visitors, exposition guests, customers.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
French director Jacques Tati is considered as one of the best directors of all time. Known for his comedic work in France, his character Monsieur Hulot has appeared in several successful comedic films such as "Juor de Fete", M. Hulot's Holday", "Mon Oncle", "Traffic" but there is one film that will be his accolade. That film is "Playtime".

Considered a masterpiece by critics, the film was also a commercial failure and was the most expensive film ever created in France as Tati created a set featuring a whole city block with high rise buildings that looked incredibly real. But the film was ahead of its time.

"Playtime" is a visual film with no significant plot, nor does it have much dialogue. It's a film that is driven by its many characters onscreen and the elaborate setup as characters, buildings and vehicles are treated with so much detail on the film, that it just a feast for ones easy as Tati absolutely created a film that was sheer brilliance.

But part of the problem was his risky gamble on 70 mm widescreen and stereophonic sound. Many theaters were not equipped to handle that and to make things worse (but understandable) is the lack of dialogue which can easily turn off audiences. So, needless to say, the film didn't do well in France and also in America.

It's after Tati died in 1982, is when people found admiration in his work and seeing how his films were truly amazing.

"Playtime" is like a smorgasbord of life being changed by modern technology and as Tati was known to do, lambast modern society as he was a man that was definitely "old school" to the time of his death.

The film revolves around Tati's famous character Monsieur Hulot and an American tourist named Barbara.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Requires Active Viewing Participation January 3, 2007
This is a singular masterpiece in film making but totally unlike anything, even for it's day. By today's attention deficit disorder standards, this film is really really odd. But no doubt it is a masterpiece if the viewer is willing to put the effort in to catch all the nuances because this is a film of nothing but nuances. Tati himself is just one of many participants.

There is a plot of sorts dealing with a group of female American tourists and the one women who is the odd duck among them. She meets Tati and they spend the night together dancing at a night club and see in the dawn at a coffee shop. Various bits of business are constantly swirling around them and you could view this picture 10 times before seeing everything. There are many jokes but they are gentle visual puns. Don't expect belly laughs, just a wry but amazing view on modern life.

As is standard practice for Criterian these days the extras on disc two are spectacular. The documentaries on Tati's life and this film are brilliant and helped me understand his art and this film much better.

A gentle film with brilliant use of wide screen (this film would make no sense pan and scan) you need to fall into the picture to enjoy it. But there is an endless wealth of material to enjoy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius in the finest form. August 26, 2009
To say too much or to say too little? I see greatness here, and the more I learn about this film and Jacques Tati, the brilliant, wonderful Jacques Tati, the more I admire this great piece of film treasure. Tati is one of these pure joys that came out of nowhere in my life, and has now fueled me beyond belief. I am in love. This is a film fan's greatest wish - to find unexpected little gems like this one and to have it consume them until it becomes an obsession, and then familiar, like an old comfy hat. This is a masterpiece, and it gives me faith in the human race when I see someone go all-out like this. This may have been folly - but we are so very, very lucky to have this precious classic!! I grew up with Gilliam's folly, Brazil, and it is so nice to see another person putting themselves so far out over the edge for the sake of TRYING TO SAY SOMETHING IN THE GUISE OF COMEDY. This is a remarkable film - and the commentaries on these discs, the Terry Jones intro, the making of features - it's all tremendous, and I cannot recommend it enough. We have movie clowns today who waste their time farting and looking at booties and hating so indirectly -- you see something like this, and it's like...we need more. That's all I can really say: we need more like these. This is visionary, and a gift for the ages. Remarkable, brave, timeless. This is what film is about.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-See for Students of Architecture and Modernism
I first saw this film in the early 80's as a young architectural graduate of a modernist school. The film captures all of the essence of a modern building minus the smell of floor... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Luc
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Tati's best
Of what is often called the "Hulot trilogy" of films, this ranks as my least favorite. It's still great and the un-cut version has some really wonderful sight gags that... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Calabash
5.0 out of 5 stars This one is a keeper!
I watch this movie over and over again and it gets funnier every time I see it! I take it on vacation with me.
Published 5 months ago by Kevin White
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch it BIG and give yourself over.
Watch this video on the biggest screen you can find.

I had a friend who would fall to giggly pieces trying to describe some of the countless bits of business that... Read more
Published 11 months ago by N. Kwame Braun
4.0 out of 5 stars A difficult, but certainly interesting film
Playtime is by far Tati's most ambitious film, and it's also one of the most artistically ambitious of all-time. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Joe R
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Visuals
Tati crams the screen with detail in this film, and the Blu-Ray captures it all. The barely visible love story linking all the diverse elements is a wonderful counterpoint to the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Dean Sigler
5.0 out of 5 stars A filmmaker who loved the marginalia of life.
"Playtime," by all accounts, was exactly the film Jacques Tati set out to make--and it destroyed him. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Miles D. Moore
1.0 out of 5 stars BUYER BEWARE! It's supposed to be a great movie but......
This Tati movies is supposed to be one of his best and the Criterion Collection version very good! While I have nothing to say about the quality of this movie, I am very annoyed... Read more
Published on August 31, 2012 by Terpsichore
5.0 out of 5 stars Hyperactive Charlie Chaplin without a flight plan....
Definitely not for those with terminal ADD. There is so much going on in this film that it looks like there is nothing going on.... Tati was an incredible auteur.... Read more
Published on June 15, 2012 by Dr. Morbius
4.0 out of 5 stars Playtime

To some Playtime (1967), at four years in the making, is Jacques Tati's masterpiece - a film that fully realised his complex vision of a movie where the... Read more
Published on May 9, 2012 by Yvonne Preston
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