Saturday, February 20, 2010


t seems I've identified my newest BFF, a certain Jacques Tati.  My friend Tiana recently told me about him and mentioned that the Gene Siskel Film Center was hosting a series of his films and that we should go see the 1958 gem, Mon Oncle.  So after arming ourselves with chocolates in our pockets, we made our way to the GSFC on Wednesday for the 6:00 showing.

   Unfortunately, I was seated next to a rather large man who was not only spilling over into my seat, but had stolen the arm rest and was coughing and making a stream of snort-y sounds throughout the whole film.  If he'd been a stank-stank stinker, I'd have willed myself to move to a different seat, but even though he was mighty distracting, I wasn't willing to give up my prime center seat in the second level for a poopy cougher.  

   Despite my inability to ignore my neighbor, I was completely enchanted by the film.  It was simply marvelous.  My friend Jeni often wishes aloud that she lived in the giant Richard Scarry's Busy Town book my family owns (it's a three feet tall, chipboard masterpiece), and I think this may have been the closest thing to a movie version of that possibility.  Dozens of bizarre gadgets were invented for the film and the sets and costumes are fabulous.  The illustration of both a traditional fifties French aesthetic paired with a strange modern sensibility is what makes this film completely beautiful.  And the comedy is simply and seemingly effortless.  Like Chaplin's work, it exudes that level of subtle brilliance with which so few are blessed and able to communicate.  I won't give a description of the plot, because I went in knowing nothing, and it made the experience that much better.  Just know that if you decide to watch this film, you are in for a highly nuanced treat filled with countless instances of consideration and love.  That's what his work seems to be about–his love for the imagination and the art of storytelling.

   Get acquainted with Tati, you'll be a happier, more inspired person.

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