Play Time; Comedy, France/ Italy, 1967; D: Jacques Tati, S: Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, Jacqueline Lecomte, Valérie Camille, France Rumilly
An airport. The reporters observe an old man in a hurry, a tourist guide leads tourists from America to a bus in order to show them Paris. Mr. Hulot enters a modern building in order to talk with someone, but gets lost and arrives to a floor with the elevator. There he spots the presentation of modern doors. In the evening, he drops by at a friend whose house has glass on one side instead of a mirror. In a restaurant a big party is under way, but the room collapses. He shows up there but quickly leaves. On the street, he meets an American woman who helps him in his orientation, so he buys her a present before leaving."Play Time", experimental comedy by Jacques Tati, the author of famous classics, is a complete mess. Non-linear story, that flip-flops between an airport, Mr. Hulot stumbling into some building and then into some party, is unfocused, boring and confusing. It's completely reduced to visual, physical gags, loosing almost all dialogues. There are a few good gags here, like when a man speaks with an old man but he can't hear him because they are separated by transparent glass or when a guest puts a drunk man inside round legs of a chair, but at the same time there are also a lot of weak ones, like the tourist woman who can't make photos of a flower shop because she is troubled by passerbys or rubber chairs that make squeaking sounds when someone sits on them. Even though the critics praised it, the public avoided this overstretched film, fed up with Tati's films without a plot, but even his failure seems like a solid achievement that neatly sums up a critique of a cold, mechanical society where people completely lost their orientation.