The Magnificent Tati

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Arts Documentary published by BSkyB in 2009 - English narration

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THE MAGNIFICENT TATI, 2009, 60 min. Dir. Michael House.

Interesting documentary on Jacques Tati's life and career, including interviews with historians, biographers, his personal assistant and admirers such as Sylvain Chomet and Frank Black from "Pixies" (who, lest anyone doubted his affinity for the man's work, closes out the documentary with his song "Do The Jacques Tati"). Also examined are Tati's use of sound, his ingenious set-designs for Playtime and his forethought with regards to the international market for his work.

Jacques Tati’s magnificent cinema is the subject of Paris-based American filmmaker Michael House’s fine new documentary, the first film in English to explore the life and work of the legendary French director. The film traces the ups and downs of Tati’s remarkable career: his origins as a mime on the musical-hall stages of Paris; his rise to international success as the maker of the Oscar-winning Mon Oncle and other celebrated films; his fall from grace after the commercial failure of Playtime, the ambitious, massively expensive production — still considered by many to be Tati’s greatest achievement — that bankrupted him and effectively derailed his career; and the post-Playtime projects, Traffic and Parade, that were Tati’s swansongs. The wealth of archival material includes clips from Tati’s films and excerpts from television appearances. The eclectic interview subjects include individuals who worked with Tati plus a variety of admirers, including alt-rocker Frank Black, Thumbsucker director Mike Mills, Tati scholar David Bellos (author of Jacques Tati: His Life and Work), and The Triplets of Belleville animator Sylvain Chomet, whose latest project, The Illusionist, is based on an unrealized script by Tati.

A director with a simultaneously delightful and critical view of the 20th century bourgeoisie, Jacques Tati is among the most beloved of French filmmakers. Tati's films are a blend of physical comedy reminiscent of silent-era slapstick, riotous sight gags that incorporate hopelessly new-fangled technology, and hilarious send-ups of modern living - not to mention the presence of the lovable, bumbling hero, Mr. Hulot, who graces most of Tati’s films with his charming social ineptitude. From such classics as M. HULOT'S HOLIDAY to PLAYTIME to the seldom-screened PARADE, Tati proves over and over again that he is a master of capturing the playful disconnect between humans and their surroundings.

The film is a mixture of English and French (mostly English), with the French passages accompanied by burned-in subtitles.

Reviews from IMDB :

- Don't miss this truly wonderful film. Tells Jacques Tati story in a way that makes you laugh (a lot) and cry (a little) while showing you tasters from every Tati film. Discusses Jacques Tati's avant-garde roots and offers real insight into Tati's unique genius. His courage in pushing the boundaries of cinema is explained and Tati's unique approach to narrative and use of sound is also explored in ways that are very stimulating - clips from a foley studio makes for great viewing. A short sequence on Mimes is very insightful and wonderfully filmed. Some interesting interview footage with Tati's assistant is nothing short of fascinating. Best film on a cinema director I have seen in years. A must for anyone into movies. -

- I love Jacques Tati and was expecting this film to be great... and it was. It packs in all of Tati's films, keeps you laughing and lets you alone with Tati's movies. The interviews are great, however they are not trying to steal the show from the star - Jacques Tati. I think it was wise of the producers to let Tati's films speak for themselves. I also enjoyed seeing that Tati inspires artists beyond Hollywood, cartoon people, rock singers etc. . I think that a good documentary should not try to sell you the subject and this one doesn't at all it merely shows you that Tati's films are very special. I would tell anyone if they want to be entertained for an hour they could do a lot worse than this 'Magnificent' film. –

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[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: XviD ISO MPEG-4
Video Bitrate: 1657 kbps
Video Resolution: 704x400
Video Aspect Ratio: 1.760:1
Frames Per Second: 25.000
Audio Codec: 0x0050 MPEG-1 Layer 2
Audio Bitrate: 192kb/s CBR 32000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 59:39.160
Number Of Parts: 1
Part Size: 830,494,720 Bytes
Subtitles: no
Ripped by: Unknown

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