Friday, March 4, 2016

Mon Oncle (1958)

Today's film is Mon Oncle (My Uncle).  It is another film featuring Jacques Tati's character Mr. Hulot.  The central theme of all Jacques Tati's film is that modern life is too complicated and frustrating.  The modern world is also cold and impersonal, too plasticky.

This film focuses on Mr. Hulot, and the fact he seems to have no job.  We also never see him eat and he always stays clean.  Is Mr. Hulot a robot?  Is that why he hardly talks?

Mr. Hulot's sister and brother-in-law may see him as a loser, but their son, Gerard is very fond of him, because he's a fun guy.  Gerard lives in a sterile, modern house that feels boring, and his fun uncle is a break from that.

 Mr. Hulot's sister, Mrs. Arpel, has a mission to get her brother a job as she feels it will be good for him.  I think Mr. Hulot's main problem is that he has no spatial awareness. That could be a flaw in his programming.

Gerard and his friends like to pull pranks on unsuspecting adults and fool them.  Kids back then were just like kids are today.  People like to think kids today are bad because society is worse, or "rap culture" makes them bad, but these kids in the film are no different.  Kids throughout history have always been little shits.

Their pranks remind me of my husband's favorite game.  There is a place here that you can sample different sodas.  One is a terribly bitter soda.  It's actually meant to be a palate cleanser, not a soda to gulp as a snack.  His favorite pasttime is tricking unsuspecting people to take a huge sip of this soda.  Their faces are priceless after drinking it.

One thing that confuses me about this film is the weather.  Some people are wearing big coats, while others are wearing sundresses.  Well is it hot or cold in France? I don't know.

Shout out to Mr. Arpel for doing everything he can to secure employment for his brother-in-law.  He doesn't do it for himself, and he definitely doesn't do it for Hulot, who he sees as a constant fuck-up.  He does it because he knows it will make his wife happy, and he loves his wife very much.

Mr. Hulot's lack of spatial awareness in a factory where people and machines depend on him is a recipe for disaster.  He can't pay attention to anything and climbs on things like a monkey.  Then, he single-handedly destroys about 300 feet of plastic tubing, which can't be cheap.

Mr. Arpel doesn't give up and offers him job after job.  Millions of jobless college graduates dream of being in Hulot's position.  But instead of being grateful, he just continues to fuck everything up.  Finally, Mr. Arpel has the great idea to ship him somewhere else, so the last scene is him dropping off Hulot at the airport.

This film is amusing, but it's not hilarious.  I will give it a 7/10.

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