Jacques Tati’s cinematic legacy rests on his four sublime comedies featuring Monsieur Hulot, his on-screen alter ego, a gawky, good-hearted Frenchman hopelessly befuddled by the modern world that’s sprung up around him. But no less than such masterpieces as Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday and PlayTime, the two films made by Tati in which Hulot does not appear—Jour de fête and Parade, his first and last features—attest to the formal ingenuity and comic dexterity of the famously exacting actor-director. In the new episode of the Criterion Channel’s monthly series Observations on Film Art, scholar Kristin Thompson turns her attention to the made-for-television Parade, often overlooked in the context of Tati’s work since the 1974 film seems to eschew the meticulously constructed fictional worlds that had by then become his signature. But as Thompson establishes in the clip above, a closer look at the movie—which purports to be a documentary record of a live variety-show performance emceed by the star—quickly reveals that it’s anything but an outlier in Tati’s filmography, its delightfully sly mix of audience participation and onstage spectacle recalling the entropic yet highly choreographed social satire of the Hulot series.
A Touchstone of Contemporary Chinese Cinema Makes Its Streaming Premiere
One of the most acclaimed and ambitious feature debuts in recent memory, Hu Bo’s An Elephant Sitting Still is a testament to the power of personal filmmaking.
Within Earshot: A Conversation with Sorayos Prapapan
Informed by his background in sound design, the Thai director uses audio to explore the absurdities of an oppressive society in his short film Death of the Sound Man, now playing on the Criterion Channel.
The Dream Factory at Its Dreamiest
Now featured on the Criterion Channel, MGM’s greatest musicals are filled to the brim with some of the most indelible moments of movie magic ever committed to celluloid.