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Playtime (The Criterion Collection)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Playtime seems the type of film one has to watch more than once to appreciate. I have seen it one time and my impression is similar to the one I had of Mon Oncle. Read morePublished 9 months ago by rbrogan3
Visually stunning, impeccable choreography. The Royal
Garden scene is hilarious. Thumbs up!
Like Keaton,Tati's claim to fame is based on his direction as much as on his acting. Indeed it could be said that the two came into conflict in his later career,his directorial... Read morePublished 17 months ago by technoguy
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 morePublished 24 months ago by Luc
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 morePublished on June 10, 2014 by Calabash
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 on May 10, 2014 by Kevin White
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