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Trafic (The Criterion Collection) (1971)

Honore Bostel , Marcel Fravel , Jacques Tati  |  G |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

Price: $68.95 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Trafic (The Criterion Collection) + Mon Oncle (The Criterion Collection) + M. Hulot's Holiday (The Criterion Collection)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Honore Bostel, Marcel Fravel, Maria Kimberly, Tony Knappers, Francois Maisongrosse
  • Directors: Jacques Tati
  • Format: Color, Special Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: July 15, 2008
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00180R05O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,484 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Trafic (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES:New restored high-definition digital transferIn the Footsteps of Monsieur Hulot (1969) a two-hour documentary tracing the evolution of Jacques Tati's beloved alter egoInterview from 1971 with the cast of Trafic from the French television program Le journal de cinema"The Comedy of Jacques Tati" a 1973 episode from the French television program Morceaux de bravoureTheatrical trailerNew and improved English subtitle translationPLUS: A new essay by film critic Jonathan Romney

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Trafic, one of Jacques Tati’s later films starring his enigmatic alter ego, Monsieur Hulot, contains more direct social satire than his previous classics Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (1953), Mon Oncle (1958), and Playtime (1967), but lacks none of the vibrant physical humor that makes Hulot one of cinema’s most revered comedic characters. Filmed in a vivid color palette of red, yellow, and green cars against a silver and glass Modernist architectural backdrop, Trafic stars Mr. Hulot as the designer of an auto meant to travel in a truck to the Amsterdam Car Show to represent his company, Altra. Hulot’s camper wagon, aimed at simplicity with its efficient built-in kitchen and sleep gear, is constantly delayed due to car accidents, police run-ins, traffic jams, and other ironic mishaps. As Altra’s director (Honore Bastel) waits in their booth decorated with fake trees and bird recordings, Hulot, truckdriver Marcel (Marcel Fravel), and stylish public relations secretary Maria (Maria Kimberly), embark on an adventure in which their vehicles are clearly in charge. Dressed in his trademark tan raincoat and hat, Monsieur Hulot constantly transforms tragedy into comedy. In one famous scene, after hippies place an animal pelt under Maria’s car tire to pass as her dog, Pito, Hulot wears the pelt and dances to cheer his friend. Extended scenes showing trafficky highways and drivers fidgeting in their cars pitted against Hulot, constantly baffled by the technology he is supposed to master, reveal underlying themes of human disconnect with nature. Trafic stands as biting commentary against a culture sabotaged by the invention of the auto, and like Godard’s Weekend, stands as testament to a revolutionary age.

This Criterion Collection release includes important extras, like a 1973 episode of French show, "Morceaux de bravoure," in which Tati speaks about his overall working methods. Also impressive is his daughter’s full-length documentary, "In the Footsteps of Monsieur Hulot" (1989), which collects ample archival footage of Tati and his friend, professor A. Sauvy, discussing each film’s invention. Here, Tati said of Trafic that he was inspired to make a film that would make people smile after noticing so many frowns on the Paris highways. Road rage assuaged by cinema is a truly Modern gesture. --Trinie Dalton

Product Description

In Jacques Tati's Trafic the bumbling Monsieur Hulot outfitted as always with tan raincoat beaten brown hat and umbrella takes to Paris's highways and byways. For this his final outing Hulot is employed as an auto company's director of design and accompanies his new vehicle (a camper tricked out in all sorts of absurd gadgetry) to an auto show in Amsterdam. Naturally the road is paved with modern-age mishaps. This late-career delight is a masterful demonstration of the comic genius's expert timing and sidesplitting visual gags and a bemused last look at technology run amok.SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES:New restored high-definition digital transferIn the Footsteps of Monsieur Hulot (1969) a two-hour documentary tracing the evolution of Jacques Tati's beloved alter egoInterview from 1971 with the cast of Trafic from the French television program Le journal de cinema"The Comedy of Jacques Tati" a 1973 episode from the French television program Morceaux de bravoureTheatrical trailerNew and improved English subtitle translationPLUS: A new essay by film critic Jonathan RomneySystem Requirements:Running Time: 97 minutes Language: French Subtitles: EnglishFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: COMEDY/BUDDY FILMS Rating: G UPC: 715515030328 Manufacturer No: CC1756DDVD

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Tati December 21, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Traffic was the movie which first got me into Tati's work. The story centres around getting a prototype car from France to a motor show in Rotterdam and as you may imagine things do not go smoothly. While Traffic lacks the endearment of Mon Oncle or M Hulot's Holiday it retains Tati's eye for understated visual humour. One of the great things about these works is that you can have seen them 20 or 30 times and still pick up on jokes that you missed before. The humour is not overt and can at times be subtle almost to the point of obscurity, however it repays repeated viewing with a some beautifully wry observations on the absurdities of everyday existence. Not a movie for belly laughs but real feel good humour.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tati's cinema swansong - slow, flawed, marvellous. November 30, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
For Jacques Tati, the car is the perfect emblem of the dehumanising effects of modern industrial life. Supposedly a symbol of freedom - of movement, of consumer choice - it actually signifies confinement and uniformity. Our dependence on it dehumanises us; therefore, its capacity for unreliability, for breakdown, seems catastrophic, life-threatening. The proliferaton of cars in our society simply leads to a perpetual traffic jam, an inability to move - a terrifying, apocalyptic early shot reveals an endless parking lot, a virtual city of immobile machines; it also cuts us off from other people.
The problem with attempts to regiment life, to make it uniform and efficient, is that the raw material is intractable human nature, liable to put a spanner in the works through ineptitude, vanity, laziness, incomprehension, desire, officiousness, accident. Tati's simple story follows the Altra car company's attempt to transport a showpiece camping van (full of hilarious parody-Bond gadgetry, including built-in shower and barbecue) to an International Exhibition in Amsterdam. Prodded by an exasperated American public relations officer, M. Hulot and indolent driver Marcel are confounded all the way, by flat tyres, lack of gas, problems with customs, car crashes. As in Tati's very first feature, 'Jour de Fete', a progress leaving humanity behind is signalled by American aerodynamics, in this case the Apollo 11 moon-landings glimpsed on TV.
Tati conveys the industrial homogeneity that scares and angers him in many ways: by emphasising vast, cavernous industrial buildings, numbing in their inhumanity, dwarfing the people occupying them, especially in Tati's rigorous, no close-up shooting; by an austere, monotonous grey colour scheme (buildings, cars, roads, clothes etc.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I first saw "Traffic" years ago in a theater and enjoyed it greatly. Then, it vanished and was unavailable for a long time. When it emerged on VHS I bought it eagerly. My first viewing of the tape was something of a let-down. However, the second time I looked at it I began to understand it again and subsequently have continued to find it a delight -just as I did originally. His gentle observations of the Dutch are quite perceptive. This is not "Mon Oncle," of course, but to one who was around when the movie was made (about 1970) it does remind me of an atmosphere of openness and tolerance which lamentably is now gone.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They're all great! March 20, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
I just hope this'll be out on DVD sometime soon. Some think this film is a bit too slow, or not as wonderful and inspired as the earlier films. That's kind of like saying Beethoven's 7th is not quite as good as his 5th or the Mona Lisa just doesn't have the same visual punch as the Last Supper. Jeepers, this is Tati we're talking about--a comedic genius who made uncompromising and meticulously crafted films, a guy who raised comedy to a height that no one since has dared or been able to match.

All that Tati requires of you is that you pay attention--not easy for many in this age. A lot of what happens on the screen is subtle and often complex. In a way it's like dealing with Shakespeare. I really don't recommend his films for those who like more overt and less cerebral comedy. Strangely, Tati films might work for some kids, the sort that get completely absorbed in a movie. Give it a try sometime and see what happens.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trafic finally gets the presentation it deserves July 18, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
If you have made it this far, you will want to own this DVD. While not one of Tati's best, it is still an entertaining and charming movie. The extras alone are worth the DVD price: interviews with the cast and a fascinating interview with Tati himself, who reprises some of his best mime routines. Regarding the movie itself: I was stunned at not only the quality of the picture (sharp with bright colors), but the fact my VHS tape was missing about 15% of the frame on all four sides, not to mention having a horizontally stretched picture. So, aside from the much-improved picture quality, there is actually 15% more movie to see! Buy this DVD (and the others from Criterion, if you don't have them), and show Criterion that their efforts with regard to Tati are appreciated.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Hulot returns October 5, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film

Trafic is a film directed by Jacques Tati and continues the adventures of Mr. Hulot. This is the fourth and final film in the series. The other three were released in succession by the Criterion Collection several years ago and this final movie is long awaited by fans.

The film is about a concept car being taken from the factory in Paris to an auto show in Amsterdam. He is delayed in customs and goes through a series of other misadventures.

The film has various sight gags which are also very funny. I think this is the best film in the series and has some of the funniest material.

The special features are also impressive.
Disc one contains the film with a theatrical trailer, a 1971 interview with cast members, and a 1973 episode about Tati, from a French television show.

Disc two contains a 1989 documentary of the four films in the series.

This is a great release and be sure to get the other three films.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I cannot believe it!
I cannot believe I didn't see this film until last night! I go way back with M. Hulot -- saw his Holiday in the 1950s under the aegis of my French class in high school. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Early A. Dopter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
all Tati's work is wonderful
Published 24 days ago by Hernando Alarcon
4.0 out of 5 stars Trafic
I finally saw Trafic which I believe is the last of the Hulot films. It is actually a bit hard to describe. Read more
Published 6 months ago by E. Borgman
4.0 out of 5 stars Tate with a new camper
Tate is an interesting film maker and director. He is considered the French Jerry Lewis, in that his films are about the human experience and do not require a lot of dialogue in... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dennis Dillon
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories
I'm glad this came out on DVD. Love the movie brought back childhood memories. The humor is subtle, deep (The cars look like their owners etc..).
Published 12 months ago by Ypres Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic arthouse novie
probably the only reliable source for this type of product in the world. I am very happy with the service and product.
Published 17 months ago by michael dowding
5.0 out of 5 stars Typical Jacques Tati and Wonderful
We don't make comedies like this. Tati's films are gentle explorations of our foibles, with great satirical barbs hidden in self-effacing humor. The DVD quality is wonderful.
Published 18 months ago by Dean Sigler
4.0 out of 5 stars Tati's final feature film
After suffering major losses with his previous film, "Playtime," he returned to his successful formula of following Mr. Hulot's adventures in this his last feature release. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Larry D. Buchanan
5.0 out of 5 stars Traffic Jacues Tati
This is another of his fine funny movies.First time I have seen it and was more than happy with it.
Published 21 months ago by Carol Rittner
5.0 out of 5 stars A Funny Look In The Mirror
Jacques Tati is a master at bringing out the humor of everyday people in everyday life. In this case, he uses the occasion of needing to get from point A to point B in a rather... Read more
Published on November 3, 2011 by LakeKids
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