Watching Tati

After reading an article about the film director Jacques Tati I went online and watched a few snippets of his films on Youtube. Those couple of one- and two-minute-excerpts were enough to convince me I should see a film of his in its entirety and what better way to start than with the most famous of them all, Playtime. Never having seen one of his films before I was unprepared for both the superb framing and the choreographical perfection that makes this film a timeless classic. It’s photography’s decisive moment in action, the constant expectation of some slapstick accident is constantly averted a heartbeat before everything collides and collapses. The film is shot in a constructed Paris, we know this only because the tourists the camera follows are visiting Paris; other than that the city is the impersonal steel concrete and glass minimalist modernist nightmare that was Le Corbusier’s dream, but so wonderfully framed by the camera that it’s impossible to watch without realizing you are looking at the work of a master.

If you get a chance, watch it, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Today’s picture is a simple composite, the same shot copied and pasted five times and then placed side by side.

Easy for it to be convincing because we expect a building like this to repetitiously look like this, which was partially the point Tati was making back in 1963.


F70-200mm, f4, 1/50sec, ISO200


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