Trafic (1971)

G   |    |  Comedy


Trafic (1971) Poster

Mr. Hulot drives a recreational vehicle from Paris to Amsterdam in his usual comical, disastrous style.


7.1/10
5,518

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21 May 2002 | davidholmesfr
8
| A Piece of Cinema History
Whilst not Tati's best by any stretch of the imagination the genius of the man still shines through. Having lived in France for a while I see more humour in this film, particularly in the comedic observation, than before. The French may be fanatical about cinema and may well have produced some of the world's greatest film makers but out and out comedy probably ranks well down in terms of output. Maybe it's something to do with the French sense of humour (whatever that may be). Unlike British, and to a lesser extent US comedy, self-parody is not a French strength. It could be something to do with their history and education but the culture, so strong in literature and the arts seems not to demean itself with pure laughter. Most cinema fans would probably be hard put to list 10 French comedies - other than perhaps drama with the occasional comic undertones. Les Visiteurs (the original not the recent re-make) is probably one of the better examples but here again there's little or no self-mocking.

So it was left to Tati to mine the seam - and how well he mined it. Here he takes the smallest of French (dare I say Parisian) mannerisms and extends them into lengthy scenes of beautifully observed comedy. Whether it's the windscreen wipers in tune with the occupants or the nose-picking drivers, he asks the French to at least smile, if not laugh out loud, at themselves.

Yes, the film does move at rather a slow pace and there are times when the comic observation sags, but the sight of dear old M Hulot in his mackintosh, loping along with pipe jutting from his mouth will ever remain one of cinema's delights.

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