Mon oncle

Mon oncle (Jacques Tati, 1958)

In this warm up through the month of November until the event of the Seven Days of French New Wave, countless French films will  be explored to contextualize the French film industry of the time. This 1958 film from France, by one of the most anachronical director of all-time: Jacques Tati is a masterpiece amongst Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot aka Mr. Hulot's Holiday and Playtime. Playing with Silent comedy and slapstick gags, the crossover between Chaplin, Keaton, and cartoons could vaguely described this character.
Like its director, the character played by Tati himself, seems to come out of another time, he is a silent witness of the not always successful progress and constant changes in the society.
The success of a Tati film isn't palpable for everyone because it can easily bore someone out. The slow-pace action, the repetition of effects, and the not so obvious gags makes Mon oncle, and all his films, very difficult to appreciate for the modern day viewer's eye. However, if the audiences take the time to observe and appreciate the finesse and the subtle comedy that Tati's Mr. Hulot has to offer it will discover how it is well worth effort and moreover the concentration.
It is another important aspect that I learned with Tati, the concentration of the viewer should be at its maximum anytime because when you think that some scene doesn't matter this is exactly the moment when Tati will get you. I would love to see a film by this director about how the society has changed since the 1970's and I'm sure he would have made a film about everyone connected to his/her phone in a restaurant full of people texting and being isolated from each other while posting little non-sense sentences of Facebook or Twitter.
Mon oncle is by far my favorite film by Jacques Tati, a filmmaker that made not so many films but that worked so hard on each one of them that it is already a lot when you calculate the number of gags and the quality of them all. He was the last of a tradition lost probably forever because this kind of humor only makes laugh nostalgics and stubborn film buffs like me...


  1. I love this movie! His satire of modernization made me laugh a lot. The recurring fountain joke was a favorite, as was the bouncing vase, and the giant eyes in the house following him around.

    I would have a hard time choosing between this one and M. Hulot's Holiday as to which would be my favorite.

  2. Thanks for commenting John! I appreciate Tati's work way more now than when I first saw it almost ten years ago!


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