Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Big Day

Jour de fête; Comedy, France, 1949; D: Jacques Tati, S: Jacques Tati, Guy Decomble, Paul Frankeur, Santa Relli, Maine Vallee

A small village is preparing for holidays. Some of the inhabitants try to set up a pole with French flag, others are in love while there is also the postman François with his bycicle. He transports letters with devotion, but is hopelessly clumsy. In an amusment park he sees a propaganda newsreel about the fast American mail, so he stays impressed by it completely drunk. The next day he decides to drastically improve his mail delivery even though everyone laughs at him in the village. François travels through mountains and drives his bicycle faster, but then decides to drop such an approach and continue the way he did.

"The Big Day" is a simple, funny and short comedy, but as a whole it's not entirely absorbing due to it's mild tone. The movie was shot in black and white, but in '97 a new restored version in color showed up. The beginning is rather boring but everything lightens up as soon as the character of Jacques Tati's postman shows up some 10 minutes into the film, offering a whole bunch of gags - he steps on a hoe that slams him in the head; just as he enters the office he catches a chicken that was trying to fly out the window; he turns the head of a man whose cigarette bursts a balloon; he looks through a horn so his eye stays dirty. The humor is rather childish, though impressively staged, whereas Tati even allowed a few sarcastic scenes here ans there, like when he puts a letter behind a horses tail, but mostly everything remained anecdotal and too simple.


No comments: