Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati, 1958)

“Cute” would be an apt adjective in describing my first Tati film. Nothing about Mon Oncle was revelatory, but in its simplistic design, I was pleased and satisfied with the experience. Dialogue is nonexistent  – its success is dependent on its physical humor, which thankfully, hits the mark most of the time. The film reminded me of Tim Burton’s visual sensibilities, mixed in with a bit of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times. Mon Oncle doesn’t have the comedic muscle of Chaplin’s film, but it’s successful in its own right. Mon Oncle’s critique on the mechanization of home and work hits you like a brick, though there are some nice visual gags that are sprinkled throughout his critique – for example, M. Hulot (played by Tati himself) is attempting to leave his sister’s home without waking her or her husband. He oafishly makes a racket. Given the architecture of the modern house, you see two heads peer out of circular windows, leaving and returning based on the noise that Hulot makes. It’s a clever visual, as if big brother watches all, and is milked for what it’s worth.

Nonetheless, I found certain aspects of the film a bit tedious. Its aimlessness is a bit distracting, as you wonder where the film could potentially go. It’s still a delightful experience, though a bit unrefined in its presentation.