Les Vacances de M. Hulot (1953) (Draft)

Holiday makers arrive at a seaside resort in France, including one Monsieur Hulot (Jacques Tati, who also directs), for the beginning of the summer season. Through a mostly still camera and often inaudible dialogue, we simply watch as children, families, hoteliers, townspeople go about their business of being on holiday. Characters emerge through mostly mimed activity: we don't get to know people's names or their inner motivations - no kitchen sink here.

The series of mild comic incidents which occur in the early part of the movie slowly transform into more substantial routines: M Hulot plays table tennis; M Hulot gets ready to ride a horse; M Hulot has his car towed and repaired. Each of these has a moment of great hilarity, but there are also moments of sublime quiet. Watch the tiny toddler buying ice-creams and wait for the inevitable gag...

After a frantic climax with fireworks when Hulot is chased into a shed by the dogs that have seen him off the property where his car accidentally rolled, driverless, while he had been trying to repair a puncture...we watch the season come to an end, the waves rolling calmly up a deserted beach at twilight.

What is special about this movie is the gentle humour and humanity, precisely organised and directed, choreographed by a comic genius. Tati is often compared to Chaplin and Keaton

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