Monday, December 1, 2014

Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953)
Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953) Poster
**** out of 5

Well, film noir and Noirvember is behind us now, and the next month will focus on silent comedy and holiday films.  This film is only a sort-of in either category.   It has dialogue, but any speaking serves mostly as sound effects to underscore the visuals of this gag-filled comic masterpiece.  And the holiday is not Christmas, but a summer vacation of the sort Americans wish they could enjoy like the French do.

The first time I watched this, I didn't really get it.  It was slow, with very little of the laugh-out-loud slapstick-style comedy I was familiar with.  Comedy, yes, but this is not the hilariously manic-paced comedy of the Marx brothers or the wonderful eye-jabbing, face-slapping absurdity of the Stooges.  The humor of Tati is far more subtle, and requires patience and attentive observation.  Even then, the laugh-out-loud moments are few;  this film's humor is the sort that amuses and may elicit a closed-mouth laugh every several minutes, but it is an amusement that is thoroughly satisfying and universally appealing.

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