Jour de fête

With his first feature, Tati was already mocking technological progress while embracing it in practice. This loose series of village vignettes follows the misadventures of a postman (Tati) who, inspired by a hyperbolic newsreel, attempts to emulate the spectacular speed and efficiency of the American postal service-on his bicycle. The film was shot with two cameras, one loaded with black-and-white film and the other using a stock called Thomsoncolor, a technology so experimental that printing proved impractical; the color version we present here remained unreleased for more than forty years. While Tati intended his color scheme to convey the contrast between the everyday drabness of a country town and the boisterous energy of a traveling fair-an ambiance brilliantly evoked and exploited in the controlled cacophony of the soundtrack-in fact the hues of Thomsoncolor are as delicate as a hand-tinted photograph, lending an air of gentle nostalgia to the film's portrait of rural life.

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