Watched: June 10 2017
Director: Jacques Tati
Starring: Jacques Tati, Nathalie Pascaud, Micheline Rolla, Valentine Camax
Runtime: 1h 23min
It’s vacation time in France, and everyone (in the upper middle classes) is getting on a train to sunny beaches. Headed the same way is a run down disaster of a car, threatening the peace of the holiday makers. An ill wind blows into the hotel – Monsieur Hulot (Tati), an OCD weirdo who’s very kind to animals, approaches.
Hulot, despite being a polite and well meaning character, has a tendency to exacerbate any problematic situation he gets himself into, of which there are many. Mainly because he causes them in the first place, such as unwittingly crashing a funeral, although often technology also plays a part.
M. Hulot’s Holiday is basically a silent slapstick comedy, 30 years after they were in vogue. It has lots of silly gags and characters and is just a jolly good time. Hulot himself could have been really annoying, but he’s oddly endearing (something we personally feel Rowan Atkinson failed to achieve with his similar character Mr Bean decades later, although we understand that may be a controversial statement).
This film is so, so silly and fun, with lots of nods to earlier silent comedy geniuses and the tradition of mime and physical theatre. In addition, there’s a series of eccentric supporting character, such as the British tennis referee and poor Arthur. All together, they make a hilarious experience for any comedy fan. Check it out!
What we learned: The best intentions can still lead to disaster. Also, you don’t need a lot of dialogue to make people laugh.
Next time: The Band Wagon (1953)
5 thoughts on “#115 M. Hulot’s Holiday/Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot”
I love how you characterized M. Hulot as an “OCD weirdo” – so true!
You make a good point about Hulot being endearing, which Mr Bean is not. I like Mr Bean, but I have no affection for him in the way I do for Hulot.
You’ve made me want to see this charming film again!
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The one exception in regards to Mr Bean is a Christmas episode where he’s spending Christmas with his girl and he keeps misunderstanding her wishes. That one is very sad. Otherwise, I just kind of find him annoying. Hulot is a much more endearing character, although they share some characteristics.
It’s well worth seeing again. Lovely little film. 🙂
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