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Playtime (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]


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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: #75,996 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Playtime (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

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

One of the greatest films ever made.
T. Gorman
The documentaries on Tati's life and this film are brilliant and helped me understand his art and this film much better.
Brian P. Nestor
That's all I can really say: we need more like these.
Colin M. Maguire

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: Blu-ray
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 By Brian P. Nestor on January 3, 2007
Format: DVD
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 By Colin M. Maguire on August 26, 2009
Format: DVD
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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