laurent durieux jacques tati

Admittedly, French filmmaker Jacques Tati doesn’t get a lot of love on this site. We’re always so focused on the future, there’s not a lot of time to look into the past. But every once in a while there’s a big, bright, beautiful reason to celebrate the history of film and today is one of those days. (If you don’t know Tati’s work, check out this great Playtime trailer.)

Popular and talented artist Laurent Durieux has teamed up with Nautilus to do a series of prints based on the small but tremendously impactful career of Tati. The first is, predictably, for Tati’s first film, Jour de fête. The poster is called François à l’Américaine, it’s officially licensed and goes on sale Friday March 13 as a timed edition. See the full image below. Read More »

playtime restoration

If you’ve never seen Playtime, the movie that almost broke Jacques Tati, 2014 could be your year. A new seven-disc box set of Tati blu-rays hits the UK in July, and Criterion should have its own set for release soon in the US. Along with the blu-rays comes a 4K restoration of Tati’s incredible film Playtime. I couldn’t love this film more; it’s a delight for so many reasons.

Recapping the plot of Playtime is difficult, because there’s not much of one. A bunch of characters (many Parisians, a group of American tourists, and Tati’s alter ego M. Hulot) wind their way through a mid-’60s vision of modernized Paris, eventually ending up at the opening night of a new restaurant, which crumbles around them as a party rages into the night. A trailer for the Playtime restoration is out, and I highly encourage you to watch below.

Update: We’ve got a new HD trailer for the restoration, which hits Blu-ray via Criterion at the end of October, and it’s even better than the one originally included over the summer. Both are now below.

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We’ve shown you quite a good bit of material from Sylvain Chomet‘s The Illusionist, including a Russian trailer. But this UK trailer for the film is the best look yet; it has a lot of new footage, and the quality is much higher than anything we’ve seen so far. We knew from stills that the film would be quite beautiful, but from the footage in this trailer, it looks stunning. Read More »


I’m about as interested as it is possible to be in Sylvain Chomet‘s upcoming The Illusionist. My interest is based on the fact that the film is the intersection of Chomet’s visual sense, somehow both a quaint and fantastic evocation of the everyday as seen in The Triplets of Belleville, and the storytelling impulse of the late Jacques Tati, which not coincidentally could be described in very similar terms.

We’ve seen a brief bit of footage from The Illusionist in the recent past, but now there is a Russian clip that acts as a great little trailer. And it is quite lovely. Read More »

A new YouTube video gives us the first online look at moving footage from Sylvain Chomet‘s The Illusionist, and what we see is simply stunning. The film has premiered this week at the Berlin Film Festival to some wonderfully positive reviews, the most encouraging of which come from those who had doubts about Chomet’s previous feature, Belleville Rendezvous. You can see the video after the break.

This Illusionist is a hand drawn animation, not to be mistaken for Neil Burger’s live action film from a few years back. Chomet was working from an unproduced screenplay by Jacques Tati, intended to be a live action film. Making conjuring magical in a toon – where there doesn’t need to be a trick, anything can be drawn – is no mean feat.

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Creating a ‘traditionally animated’ feature, which is to say a film created by drawing 2D images rather than tweaking 3D models, either physically or virtually, is most definitely a very time consuming exercise (I take issue with the term ‘traditionally animated’ as I’m not sure what’s untraditional about the art of stop-motion). Unsurprising, then, that the last time I saw a new image from Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist was literally years ago. Finally, a batch of gorgeous new images have surfaced, and you can see them all below the break.

Chomet, if you don’t know the name, was the director of The Triplets of Belleville, aka Belleville Rendezvous, a French toon that made something of a splash back in 2003, not least by garnering effusive praise from some big cheeses at Pixar.

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