Tati Shorts

1934-1976 shorts

Rating: None. I don't rate collections.

Plot: Various.

A hit and miss affair that made me more sad than anything else. For a 40+ year career, Tati should have more movies for me to enjoy. Maybe I'm just selfished, but it's unfortunate that he was burdened by perfectionism.

"On Demande une Brute" has Tati becoming a wrestler. Nothing memorable or even really very amusing happens.

Things really get rolling with "Gai Dimanche" about a pair of con men--Tati and his clownish pal Rhum--who gather a collection of folks for a trip to the country in a rickety vehicle. There are some humorous visual gags, and I think I even might have laughed a couple times. Tati might be at his best when he gets to play with some sort of contraption, and here, he plays with the ridiculous cars' doors along with creatively using the landscape and even the humans. There's nothing revolutionary here, but it was definitely a fun watch.

"Soigne ton Gauche," directed by Rene Clement is about a buffoonish farmer who gets his shot at being a boxer, and it's Tati showing off his talents at physical comedy. I loved it, and thought it was very funny.

Even better was "The School for Postmen," his directorial debut from 1947. It's Tati with his postman character from his first feature length film, and I'm not sure if there's anything new here if you've seen Jour de Fete. A few of the gags, I believe, were even repeated, but this is still a great and funny short.

Most disappointing was "Evening Classes," a short Tati made while working on Playtime. Tati, playing an acting teacher, pantomimes fishing and tennis like he did in the circus movie (Parade) I watched a few months ago. He also shows his students how to run into things and trip. It's not all that funny, and I was disappointed because I felt as if I had been teased by being shown some of the impressive Playtime set that didn't end up being utilized at all.

I was tricked into watching a 1978 short made by his daughter, Sophie Tatischeff, and I wasn't sure what the point of the whole thing was. It was charming enough, but I couldn't figure out why it was supposed to be funny. I'm not even sure it was supposed to be funny actually. There's also a soccer documentary that Tati was working on that his daughter finished.

I guess this isn't anywhere near essential, but if you're a fan of Jacques Tati's work, it's probably worth checking out. You're not going to be blown away though, so be warned.

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