UCCA Beijing


2010.1.16 - 2011.1.23

Location:  Auditorium
Language:  Chinese and English subtitle


UCCA's retrospective of the French screenwriter, director, and actor Jacques Tati (1907–1982) presents six feature films and three rarely screened shorts. As one of cinema's greatest comedians, Tati created Monsieur Hulot, a French bohemian uncle who was often trapped in modern life. His experiments with sound, color, image, language, and technology are a fundamental bridge between the innovations in the silent era and the French New Wave, and also have had an unmistakable influence on the style and humor of many filmmakers today.

Screening Schedule:

Saturday, Jan. 1616:00 Playtime 114mins English and Chinese subtitle19:00 L’ecole des facteurs (School for Postmen) 15mins English and Chinese subtitle

Jour de fête (Big Day) 77mins English and Chinese subtitle

Sunday, Jan.1716:00 Mon Oncle (My Uncle) 110mins English and Chinese subtitle

19:00 Cours du soir (Night Class) 27mins English and Chinese subtitle

Les vacances de monsieur hilot (Monsieur Hulot's Holiday) 74 mins English and Chinese subtitle

Tuesday, Jan.19

19:00 Traffic 93mins English subtitle


Wednesday, Jan.2019:00 Soigne ton gauche (Watch your Left! Boxer) 12mins English subtitle

Parade 85mins English subtitle

Thursday, Jan. 21

16:00 L’ecole des facteurs (School for Postmen)15mins English subtitle

Jour de fête (Big Day) 77mins English subtitle

19:00 Playtime 114mins English subtitle


Friday, Jan.2216:00 Cours du soir (Night Class) 27mins English subtitle

Les vacances de monsieur hilot (Monsieur Hulot's Holiday) 74 mins English subtitle

19:00 Mon Oncle (My Uncle) 110mins English subtitle

Saturday, Jan.2314:00 Traffic 93mins English and Chinese subtitle16:00 Soigne ton gauche (Watch your Left! Boxer) 12minsEnglish and Chinese subtitle

Parade 85mins English and Chinese subtitle

Jacques Tati (1907–1982) is one of the cinema’s greatest comedians. Tati has produced only six features in his entire career, which, however, help him to gain an international reputation, as well as a unique position in cinema history. Took part in many short films in the 30s, namely Tati participated the writing and acting of René Clément’s short film Soigne ton gauche (1936), Tati begun his cinematic occupation as a actor and director. In 1949, he made his first full length film Jour de fête, by which he won the Best Director at Venice Film Festival of that year. This film is shoot in both black/white, and color stocks. Moreover, the color version is considered as one of the very first French color film, which, however, only has been released in 1995 due to technical problems at that time. It is followed by his hugely successsful feature Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1952). In this film, Tati has developed his screen alter ego Monsieur Hulot, who appears in four of his films among six in all. His third film, Mon Oncle (1958), won Jury prize at Cannes Film Festival and the Best Foreign Language Film in Oscar. It has been considered by critics to be the highpoint of Tati’s career. In 1967, Tati made his most ambitious project Playtime, which took him nine years to complete. It is a critical success, but a massive commercial failure. It then becomes the cruel constrain of Tati’s later artistic creation. He then finished Traffic (1971), the final bow of Monsieur Hulot. His last feature is Parade (1974), which unfortunately has never been released.

Fran?ois Truffaut describes Tati’s films as “come from another planet, where they make films differently”. Tati’s films are built around elaborate, tightly-choreographed visual gags and carefully integrated sound effects. He creates an entire cosmos, a meticulously choreographed chaos in a Cartesian world, providing a transformative and unique movie experiences for the audience. As it is argued, Tati bridges between the innovations of Buster Keaton and Max Linder in the tightly silent era and those of his contemporaries Jean-Luc Godard,Marguerite Duras, and Robert Bresson. He also has an enormous influence on the style and humor of many contemporary directors, such as, Roy Andersson, Wes Anderson, Takeshi Kitano and Sylvain Chomet.

Soigne ton gauche (Watch your Left! Boxer)

Comedy, Short, France,1936, René Clément, 12mins, In French

Wednesday, Jan. 20 19:00 English Subtitle

Saturday, Jan.23 16:00 English and Chinese Subtitle

This is an early short comedy written and performed by Jacques Tati. In the film, Tati presents his experiences as a mime in French music hall and a sports lover when he was an adolescent. This short is set up on a farm in rural France, a young farmer’s son Roger becomes fantasize of being a boxer when he sees a sports coach training two boxers in the countryside for a forthcoming match. One of the professional boxers is knocked out during a training bout. As a consequence, Roger is persuaded to enter the makeshift boxing ring, although he doesn't know anything about how to box…

L’ecole des facteurs (School for Postmen)

Comedy, Short, France,1947, Jacques Tati,15mins, In French

Saturday,Jan.16 19:00 English and Chinese Subtitle

Thursday, Jan 21 16:00 English Subtitle

In his office, the chief postman of a French rural community puts three junior postmen through a course of intensive training. The aim is to reduce the time of their postal round so that they can catch the airmail plane on time. In the classroom, François may be the star pupil, but when he gets back to his daily round, countless obstacles prevent him from succeeding in his mission...This short provided material for Tati’s first feature, Jour de fête. However, it merits consideration as a small comic masterpiece in its own right.

Cours du soir (Night Class)

Short, France,1967,Jacques Tati, 27mins, In French

Sunday, Jan.17 19:00 English and Chinese Subtitle

Friday, Jan. 22 16:00 English Subtitle

It is appropriate that Tati should make this film towards the end of his career, in which he gives an evening acting class on observation to a group of overly earnest students. It is made on the set of Playtime. The themes of the master’s classes include the Smoker, Sports (tennis, fishing and horse-riding), the Postman, and How to Trip Over Steps.

Jour de fête (Big Day)

Comedy, France,1949, Jacques Tati, 77mins, In French

Saturday,Jan.16 19:00 English and Chinese Subtitle

Thursday, Jan 21 16:00 English Subtitle

This is the first masterpiece from Tati, some of the gags used in Cours du soir has been enriched and developed in this film. The story is about a bumbling, self-important postman in the countryside accidentally saw a short newsreel account of rapid transportation methods used by the United States postal system on a traveling fair. He feels inspired on the next day and decides to transform the local mail system. He goes to hilarious lengths to speed the delivery of mail while aboard his bicycle, and eventually brings a chaos to the village…Tati presents his modernist concept compellingly in this film which contrasts the lyrical rhythms of pastoral life with modern-day agitations and urgencies.

Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (Monsieur Hulot's Holiday)

Comedy, France,1953, Jacques Tati, 74mins, In French and English

Sunday, Jan.17 19:00 English and Chinese Subtitle

Friday, Jan. 22 16:00 English Subtitle

The story of this film is simple enough to be summerized in one sentence – it is about the misadventures of a Frenchman on holiday at Brittany resort. However, this simple story was nominated the Prix de la Critique at Cannes in 1953 and a brace of awards internationally. Besides the continuous Tati style visual gags, this film challenged the entire story-telling narrative of cinema at that time. The English version of Les Vacances is preceded by a warning: "Don't look for a plot, for a holiday is meant purely for fun." Its unique narrative structure offers the audience the maxium freedom of film watching. It is ironic portray of French middle class life. Perhaps more important, Monsieur Hulot made his first appearance in this film!


Prix Louis Delluc (1953)

Mon Oncle (My Uncle)

Comedy, France / Italy,1958, Jacques Tati,110mins, In French

Sunday,Jan.17 16:00 English and Chinese Subtitle

Friday, Jan.22 19:00 English Subtitle

Monsieur Hulot made his appearance again five years after his vacation on the beach. This time, he is let loose in the ultramodern home of his brother-in-law, and in an antiseptic factory that manufactures plastic hose. Hulot liberates his nephew from the soulless, stifling, and regimented trappings of modern life—though purely by accident, like everything else he does. This film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the Jury Prize at Cannes. Ankur Agarwal says in the Academy Award ceremony that this film is “an unvarying social commentary, upon the times we live in, upon the way rich and society-conscious people live, and upon the simple ways that give you pleasure in life and that never change with time.” The satire of the dehumanising effect of technology on society and family life has been continued as a theme in later of his films, namely, Playtime and Traffic.


Academy Award, Best Foreign Language Film(1958)

Cannes Film Festival, Jury Prize(1958)


Comedy, France/Italy,1967, Jacques Tati, 114mins, In French,English and German

Saturday, Jan.16 16:00 English and Chinese Subtitle

Thursday, Jan 21 19:00 English Subtitle

This time, Monsieur Hulot has to contact an American official in Paris, but he gets lost in the maze of modern architecture which is filled with the latest technical gadgets. Caught in the tourist invasion, Hulot roams around Paris with a group of American tourists, causing chaos in his usual manner. Tati, still continued his previous unique cinematic theme, style and narrative strucuture. And in Playtime, every elements have been taken into an extreme. It is shoot on 70mm films, and this film is famous for its luxury setting construction named “tativilla”. Large format film, deep focus, long take and the striking mise-en-scene of “Tativille” contribute to the deadpan aesthetic of the film. It is a cruel and objective satire on the horrors of modern architecture, which can be considered as a metaphor of the rigid structures of modern society.


Comedy, France / Italy,1971, Jacques Tati, 93mins, In French, English and Dutch

Wednesday, Jan.19 19:00 English Subtitle

Saturday, Jan.23 14:00 English and Chinese Subtitle

In this film, Monsieur Hulot made his last appearance. He works as a designer for the motor company and designed a luxury camping car, equipped with all modern appliances, which is to be revealed at a motor show in Amsterdam. The car is loaded aboard a truck, which sets off for the show, followed by Hulot and Maria, the public relations secretary. A string of disasters strikes – the trunk breaks down, runs out of petrol, gets impounded by the customs officers, and then ends up in a multiple car crash. This is the last feature film from this cinematic master.


Comedy, France / Sweden,1974, Jacques Tati, 85mins, In French

Wednesday, Jan. 20 19:00 English subtitle

Saturday, Jan.23 16:00 English and Chinese Subtitle

A joyous and touching swan song, made for Swedish television, in which Jacques Tati returns to his music-hall roots by saluting that most popular and democratic of art forms: the circus. Parade differs markedly from Tati’s other five films, most notably in that it has no plot, no apparent structure and is closer in form to the style of a documentary. The film is deceptively simple, depicting a circus show with the minimum of cinematic embellishment. For all its simplicity, Parade has an inexplicable hold on the spectator; it evokes a very strong sense of warmth and good-feeling, which comes partly from a feeling of nostalgia.