Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Saturday 25 April 2009


My father made out - not entirely accurately - that he was the kind of man who couldn't abide foreigners, foreign food or foreign films: but he always made an exception for M. Hulot's Holiday, particularly this scene:

So when I saw Paris's new art venue, the converted warehouse 104, was housing a reconstruction of the so ultra-modern, efficient but essentially inhumane villa imagined for Tati's next film, Mon Oncle, I had to go and see it.

104 is mainly a base for artists' studios, offering occasional open workshops - but not first thing on a Saturday, so, apart from the size of the space, this display and the bookshop were about the only major attractions there.

In itself the display is mildly amusing, but of course entirely static, with none of the absurd machinery that makes the film. It only came to life when toddlers peering through the gaps in the gate unwittingly re-enacted one of the film's running gags.

This show is part of an ongoing celebration of Tati's work, a major part of which is an exhibition at the Cinémathèque at Bercy.

En route I passed one of those unexpected street scenes that might have given him plenty of ideas.

The exhibition is full of documents, props, film clips, guaranteed to bring a smile on such a damp and chilly day: and best of all, there was a showing of Mon Oncle.


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