Jacques Tati

PlayTime

PlayTime

Jacques Tati’s gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in an age of high technology reached their apotheosis with PlayTime. For this monumental achievement, a nearly three-year-long, bank-breaking production, Tati again thrust the lovably old-fashioned Monsieur Hulot, along with a host of other lost souls, into a baffling modern world, this time Paris. With every inch of its superwide frame crammed with hilarity and inventiveness, PlayTime is a lasting record of a modern era tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion.

Film Info

  • Jacques Tati
  • Italy, France
  • 1967
  • 124 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.78:1
  • English, German, French
  • Spine #112

Special Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, with 3.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Introduction by actor and comedian Terry Jones
  • Three selected-scene commentaries, by film historian Philip Kemp, theater director Jérôme Deschamps, and Jacques Tati expert Stéphane Goudet
  • Like Home, a 2013 visual essay on PlayTime by Goudet
  • “Tativille,” a 1967 episode of the British television program Tempo International, featuring an interview with Tati from the set of PlayTime
  • Beyond “PlayTime,” a short 2002 documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the production
  • Interview from 2006 with script supervisor Sylvette Baudrot
  • Audio interview with Tati from the U.S. debut of PlayTime at the 1972 San Francisco Film Festival
  • Alternate English-language soundtrack
  • New English subtitle translation

Available In

Collector's Set

The Complete Jacques Tati

The Complete Jacques Tati

Blu-Ray Box Set

7 Discs

$99.96

Collector's Set

The Complete Jacques Tati

The Complete Jacques Tati

DVD Box Set

12 Discs

$99.96

Special Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, with 3.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Introduction by actor and comedian Terry Jones
  • Three selected-scene commentaries, by film historian Philip Kemp, theater director Jérôme Deschamps, and Jacques Tati expert Stéphane Goudet
  • Like Home, a 2013 visual essay on PlayTime by Goudet
  • “Tativille,” a 1967 episode of the British television program Tempo International, featuring an interview with Tati from the set of PlayTime
  • Beyond “PlayTime,” a short 2002 documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage from the production
  • Interview from 2006 with script supervisor Sylvette Baudrot
  • Audio interview with Tati from the U.S. debut of PlayTime at the 1972 San Francisco Film Festival
  • Alternate English-language soundtrack
  • New English subtitle translation

PlayTime
Cast
Jacques Tati
Monsieur Hulot
Barbara Dennek
Young tourist
Georges Montant
Monsieur Giffard
France Rumilly
Woman selling eyeglasses
Reinhart Kolldehoff
German businessman
André Fouché
Restaurant manager
Billy Kearns
Mr. Schultz
Yves Barsacq
Hulot’s friend
Nicole Ray
Singer
Credits
Director
Jacques Tati
Cinematography
Jean Badal
Cinematography
Andréas Winding
Screenplay
Jacques Tati
Screenplay
Jacques Lagrange
English dialogue
Art Buchwald
Music
James Campbell
Music
Francis Lemarque
Editor
Gérard Pollicand
Production design
Eugène Roman
Sound
Jacques Maumont

From The Current

Tativille in Louisville

Repertory Picks

Tativille in Louisville

Jacques Tati’s iconic character Monsieur Hulot gets lost in an absurd modern cityscape in the elaborately choreographed PlayTime, playing this weekend in Louisville, Kentucky.

On Film / In Theaters
May 24, 2018
Ken Jennings’s Top 10

Ken Jennings is the all-time winningest champion in the history of the quiz show Jeopardy!, having won $2.5 million during his seventy-five-game streak in 2004.


Jan 27, 2017
Reggie Watts’s Top 10

Reggie Watts is a multifaceted performer best known for his comedy collaborations and improvisational music sets.


Dec 30, 2015
Jacques Tati: Things Fall Together
Jacques Tati: Things Fall Together

In cinema history, there truly is no gag like a Tati gag.

By David Cairns

On Film / Essays — Nov 4, 2014
Jacques Tati, Historian
Jacques Tati, Historian

Tati’s witty visual comedy also functioned as satire of a rapidly modernizing postwar France.

By Kristin Ross

On Film / Essays — Oct 30, 2014
PlayTime

By David Cairns

On Film / Visual Analysis — Oct 29, 2014
Jacques Tati: Composing in Sound and Image
Jacques Tati: Composing in Sound and Image

What you hear is as crucial—and as funny—as what you see in Tati’s films.

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

On Film / Essays — Oct 28, 2014
Scatterbrained Angel: The Films of Jacques Tati
Scatterbrained Angel: The Films of Jacques Tati

Though he emerged from established stage and screen comedy traditions, Tati invented a completely new filmic language.

By James Quandt

On Film / Essays — Oct 27, 2014
A Moment with Jacques Tati

Flashbacks

A Moment with Jacques Tati

The author recalls meeting the filmmaker in a Swedish hotel in the ’70s.

By Peter Cowie

On Film / Features — Oct 23, 2014
Stella Mozgawa’s Top 10

Stella Mozgawa is the drummer for the critically acclaimed Los Angeles band Warpaint, whose albums include 2010’s The Fool and 2014’s Warpaint.


Jan 23, 2014
Sight & Sound Poll 2012: Playtime
Sight & Sound Poll 2012: Playtime

Every ten years since 1952, the world-renowned film magazine Sight & Sound has polled a wide international selection of film critics and directors on what they consider to be the ten greatest works of cinema ever made, and then compiled the resu…


Nov 8, 2012
Playtime: Things Fall
Apart, Beautifully

Jacques Tati’s Playtime (1968) opens in a shiny space: nuns breeze past; a woman in a white uniform clacks through, bearing towels; a baby cries. People wait. The feeling is “hospital.” A second woman in white delivers towels, and we see that h…

By David Cairns


Dec 2, 2010
Frederick Elmes’s Top 10

In compiling his top ten, Elmes, who shot The Ice Storm and Ride with the Devil, chose those films, he says, “that influenced me most.”


Jul 7, 2010
Hand-Drawn Tati

French animator Sylvain Chomet, whose idiosyncratic, elegant, hand-drawn style and quirky approach to narrative were introduced to American viewers in 2003’s The Triplets of Belleville, is returning to screens with another largely wordless feature…


Apr 27, 2010
Pedro Costa’s Top 10

Portuguese director Pedro Costa is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning artist behind the films Ossos, In Vanda’s Room, and Colossal Youth, available from Criterion in the special edition four-DVD box set Letters from Fontainhas: Three Film


Mar 10, 2010
The Dance of Playtime

I suppose it could be argued that I saw Playtime for the first time in ideal circumstances—as an American tourist in Paris. Yet to argue this would mean overlooking the film’s suggestion that, like it or not, we’re all tourists nowadays—and a…

By Jonathan Rosenbaum


Aug 19, 2009
TATI’S RIGHT-HAND MAN

There’s a cornucopia for Tati fans over at Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell’s blog, Observations on Film Art and Film Art. In a new entry, Thompson spotlights painter Jacques Lagrange, a somewhat unsung collaborator on all of Jacques Tati’s …


Jun 11, 2009
April in Tativille
April in Tativille

Some of you might have seen the news item on our website regarding the Jacques Tati “centennial-plus” and the exhibits around Paris paying homage to the inventive filmmaker. I had the good fortune to be in the City of Lights on official Criterion

Robin Wood’s Top 10

This month we asked critic Robin Wood—whose books include Hitchcock’s Films and Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan and who recently wrote essays for the Criterion releases The Furies and Le plaisir—to pick his ten favorite films in the collection


Nov 21, 2008
Playtime

After the success of Mon Oncle in 1958, Jacques Tati had become fed up with Monsieur Hulot, his signature comic creation. With international renown came a growing dissatisfaction with straightforward scenarios centered around one lovable, recognizabl…

By Kent Jones


Jun 4, 2001

Explore

Jacques Tati

Writer, Actor, Director

It’s rare for a director’s physical appearance to be as iconic as Jacques Tati’s is. Not just the writer and director of a series of beloved French comedies—including M. Hulot’s Holiday, Mon oncle, Playtime, and Trafic—but their star, Tati embodied the befuddled, eternally umbrella-carrying and trench-coated Monsieur Hulot, perennially unable to adjust to a rapidly modernizing world, with empathy and a delightful comic precision. The latter trait was undoubtedly due to his early career as a mime in French music halls; when he switched to film, he adapted his penchant for mute comedy not only to his character but also to his directing style. There’s very little audible dialogue in Tati’s films, and their spare use of sound contributes to the overall sense they create of a forbidding, contemporary world in which Hulot feels adrift and superfluous. Add Tati’s brilliant knack for composition, expertise at choreographing deadpan slapstick, and grandiose vision (his 70 mm Playtime, one of the most expensive French productions in history to that point, bankrupted him), and you’ve got one of the most enjoyable, singular oeuvres in film.