Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Senses of Cinema - Jacques Tati

Although hardly a film buff, I have certain narrow areas of expertise and delight.

I have seen just about everything Buster Keaton ever made, and in a proper cinema, with a live pianist (not recorded soundtracks).

I have seen all of Jacques Tati's work, including seeing Playtime in 70mm back when it was first released (even though the run quickly ended). You'll be lucky to catch it that way, now.

As the reviewer mentioned below points out, to watch a film made in such a format on a television is to lose too much, but it's pretty much all we have now.

"The reduction of a 70mm. presentation to the scale of a television set is similar to reducing the performance of a symphony orchestra to a badly done audiocassette."

All the games Tati plays with where you are looking on the screen (sometimes directed by sound, or by colour, or by movement) mean nothing on a small screen where your eyes hardly have to move around at all. His whole style, of not steering your vision to particular activities with close-ups, needs the cinema - both for the size of the screen, and for the kind of concentration that most people do not bring to television.

[A great summary of the work, and some excellent links]

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