(My Uncle, Mr. Hulot)
Recommended for ages 10 & up
Jacques Tati, Jean-Pierre Zola, Adrienne Servantie, Alain Becourt,
Young Gerard Arpel feels alienated and constricted in his parents’ house, in which ingenious modern gadgets replace human effort and precision scheduling passes for interaction. Therefore he loves to spend time with his Uncle Hulot (Jacques Tati), whose home resembles a nest at the top of a ramshackle old house in a lively, impoverished quarter of the city. Much of the humor of this delicately timed comedy comes from the relationship of these two to the Arpel house itself, which functions like a frighteningly beautiful and entirely superfluous machine. A highlight of the film is the garden party thrown by the Arpels in a last-ditch attempt to distract Uncle with a lady friend and thereby gain back their son’s attention; here minimal dialogue combines with maximum sound effects, brilliant color photography, and choreographed movements to create a futuristic fifties fantasy.