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“A film I would see every other day if I had the time... I think Tati worked with sound and music better than most anybody I’ve seen.He can zoom in on the absurdity of life without losing his love for human beings.”– David Lynch(1953) Ah, l’été sur la plage: the sea, the sand, the breezes, the little changing huts; the boarding house; the dining room door that greets guests with a thunk whenever it opens or closes; the little man who walks in his wife’s wake; the staunch veteran who takes charge of a picnic excursion like it was an armored division; the paterfamilias with the brim-up cap and the horn rims, constantly taking urgent international business calls, pre cellphone — plus the high-cuffed, rain-coated, pipe-smoking bull-in-a-China shop Monsieur Hulot, arriving in his noisily rattletrap jalopy. First incarnation of the character that Jacques Tati would stick with to the end of his career, and with dialogue unimportant — although music and the totally invented sound effects are not — and the humor entirely visual. The classic gags keep coming, with the perfectly timed wave-riding paint can; the leaf-bedecked spare turned funeral wreath, with the just-passing-by Hulot becoming a principal mourner; the jack-knifing canoe that he keeps on paddling; the tennis match with Hulot unveiling a deadly service game; the continuous musical score with the catchy theme that seems to kick in whenever anybody decides to spin a platter; and the spectacular fireworks climax. A relentless tinkerer, Tati re-edited his 1953 original twice: in the early 60s, he cut out some shots and extended others, while re-mixing the sound, recording a new, re-orchestrated version of Alain Romans’ score, and adding the final color shot of the stamp. In 1978 he shot and cut in new footage on the beach. This brand new restoration, working from the much-spliced camera negative and final track, now allows viewing of Tati’s definitive vision.A JANUS FILMS RELEASE
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