Mon Oncle (1958)

Mon Onclemononcle-poster
Directed by Jacques Tati
Written by Jacques Tati with artistic collaboration by Jacques Lagrange and Jean L’Hote
1958/France
Specta Film/Gray Film/Alter Films et al
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
#351 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

[at the 1959 Academy Awards] I find that the people who speak the worst English want to talk more than the others. — Jacque Tati

This is utterly charming and laugh out loud funny.  It is my favorite of Tati’s films and I love them all.

Monsieur Hulot just can’t help innocently creating chaos anywhere he happens to be. Naturally, children love him.  He lives in a quaint and traditional part of Paris.

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Hulot’s sister and brother-in-law live with their son Gerard in a monstrosity of an ultra-modern house.  Think Disneyland’s Home of the Future gone insane.  Gerard’s father, an industrialist, is jealous of Hulot’s warm relationship with his son.  So he tries various schemes to give Hulot a “goal in life”.  Of course all of these go haywire.

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Tati was a genius and this is a practically perfect comedy.  The sight gags often happen simultaneously.  It can be watched over and over again and you will find several things you missed on all previous viewings.  I particularly like the dogs and the fish fountain.  Highly recommended.

Mon Oncle won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Trailer

4 thoughts on “Mon Oncle (1958)

  1. Tati is great! I saw Playtime at the American Cinematique in Hollywood and it was a wonderful big-screen experience.

    Mon Oncle I discovered on YouTube, and it’s also fairly hilarious. Hulot’s house is a comedy marvel!

    It wasn’t sub-titled, but that doesn’t really matter for Tati as far as I can tell. About a half hour into it, I realized the dialogue wasn’t in French. I’m pretty sure it was dubbed in Italian!

    I’ve never seen M. Hulot’s Holiday and it seems like one of the most egregious blind spots in my movie watching.

    • Oh, what joy to see Tati on the big screen! I’m looking forward to a rewatch of Playtime and would highly recommend M. Hulot’s Holiday, which made my top 10 for its year. Jour de fete is pre-M. Hulot but is also good.

  2. Yes yes yes! This is exactly how I saw Mon Oncle.
    I love all the small details, the exagerated sounds the absurdity of the Arpel home, but most of all I know exactly that kind of people and recognition is the key to humor.

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