To make the film, Tati built his own Paris. He and architect Eugène Roman created a mini-metropolis at Saint-Maurice, to the south-east of the capital. It was no ordinary film set: it contained two steel and concrete buildings, its own power plant, tarmacked streets and working traffic lights, plus several towering trompe l’oeil facades.
In its quiet way, PlayTime expresses a satiric outrage at the antiseptic nature of modern life, but its take on urban alienation is nothing if not joyous. Tati celebrates human character as indomitably resistant to imposed order, especially if that order smacks of transatlantic-style bureaucracy. Tati prided himself on a democratic approach to comedy, and PlayTime purported to hold a mirror to its entire audience: its trailer told prospective viewers that Playtime was “your film … Whatever your personality, whatever your job … you are in PlayTime.”
dir. Jacques Tati
French language / English subtitles
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