Jacques Tati, Top Ten

Jacques Tati – The Definitive Ranking

Jacques Tati was one of the most wonderful voices in cinema. His combination of visual gag based humor, good humor, positive outlook, serious thought, and ability to dramatize his points without any dialogue to explain it created some of the most delightful and funny comedies ever that still manage to stand the test of time decades after his death.

I could have done with a dozen more of his films, but four films starring M. Hulot (as well as a couple of other films) was all we got. I’m happy for that. He went out searching for wonder in the corners of the horrifically brutalistic modern world he saw outside his window, and I think he found it. He was the source of some of it as well.

So, here are his works, ranked definitively. Do check out the other definitive rankings for their definitiveness.

6. Parade

“There’s honestly not much to say about the film because there’s not much there outside the surface. It feels like a relatively cheap way for Tati to have one more effort at a film, adapting some of his stage work into a television special for another country.”

5. Jour du Fete

“It’s not a bad first effort from Tati at all. Jour de Fete is a nice, gentle little film. It just doesn’t really have a center. The first bulk of the film ends up feeling extraneous. The adventures of Francois feel disjointed. However, it’s never less than nice.”

4. Trafic

“It’s not his best work, but like everything else it has intelligence, a sweet hidden message, and plenty of laughs. Trafic is a nice farewell to the cinema from a master of comedic cinematic storytelling.”

3. Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday

“Tati, pulling from his own past, in particular his childhood, obviously has no ill feelings towards these people he sees as unable to live in the moment. He just likes to give them a gentle ribbing, and that good natured way of doing things is ultimately quite enjoyable. Tati has found his voice, and I expect wonderful things in the future.”

2. Mon Oncle

“These films fill me with such heedless joy as I watch them. Tati had a marvelous gift for comedy without anger or malice. His films would be simple enjoyable truffles of amusement if he did not combine them with a strong central idea, which he does here, providing an extra layer of depth and thought to the whole affair. As Hulot enters the airport to go on to be a salesman for the company in another part of the country, sent by his brother-in-law to get rid of his troublesome relative, Hulot gets lost in the dance of pedestrians, off to find another adventure.”

1. PlayTime

“Tati was one of the most talented cinematic comedians who used every element of the medium to deliver his unique style of laughter and joy. I could have done with another dozen of his films.”

4 thoughts on “Jacques Tati – The Definitive Ranking”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s