January 2014, arsenal cinema

Classics Not Just for Children

LES VACANCES DE MONSIEUR HULOT, 1953

Jacques Tati's LES VACANCES DE MONSIEUR HULOT (Mr Hulot's Holiday, France 1953) is this month's children's film. Hulot spends his holidays in a beach resort and innocently causes chaos for all those around him, particularly when he tries to help. Tati's sound work makes use of a complex structure of diverse ideas, musical tricks and amusing sound effects. The few sections of dialogue only play a small role, with the usually incomprehensive scraps of language usually taking the function of noises for accentuation purposes. Monsieur Hulot only says one word in the whole film: "Hulot". Tati's cinema has its forerunners in the silent film era, with Hulot forming a modern descendent of Charlie Chaplin who equally expresses himself via facial expressions and gestures. Tati discovered in the process the suitable soundtrack for silent film. "Tati starts off at the point we stopped at 40 years ago." (Buster Keaton) (mg)  (5., 12. & 26.1.)