Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: Waiting for Hulot

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Waiting for Hulot

by Tony Dayoub

In this week's Wide Screen, I look at the recent Blu-ray release of last year's Oscar-nominated animated feature, The Illusionist. Here's an excerpt from my column, "Tatischeff or Tati?" in which I use the scene most resembling one of Jacques Tati's Monsieur Hulot gags as a starting point in contrasting the iconic Hulot from the new film's titular magician, Tatischeff:
But outside of this one sequence in The Illusionist, Tatischeff (as his name underscores) is not meant to invoke the character of Hulot, as much as he is meant to recall the artist who assumed the name, Jacques Tati. (For Playtime, Tati built a virtual city with its own power plant at great expense to him both financially and in terms of his cinematic career.) Like the director, Tatischeff is a man who patiently sets up acts involving sleight of hand, appreciated by a rare few (as represented by Alice), but is fighting a losing battle in a world growing ever faster in its pace, its technological development and its disdain for artists who aren’t simply pretty tabulas rasa; a running joke in the film involves Tatischeff repeatedly encountering a boy band that acts masculine in front of their screaming female fans while relaxing into effeminacy backstage.

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