Thank you, criterion, for bringing tati back from obscurity!
Tati is undoubtably one of the great filmmakers of all time. and this despite the fact that he only released three films under his total control (m. hulot's holiday, mon oncle, and playtime), all available now on criterion dvd. what is even more impressive is that, unlike the great howard hawks, who successfully directed movies of every genre, tati's accomplishment was to sucessfully document the development of the modern world under the guise of three simple, light-hearted comedies. from the whimsical near-silent classic holiday, to the clash of the modern with the traditional in mon oncle, to the crushing approach of metal and glass over the classical world in playtime, tati made brilliant films that, while obstensibly comedies, offer some of the most insightful commentary on the joy of life to be found in cinema. no movies i can think of are more deserving of dvd presentation. each film is a masterpiece that warrants repeated viewings (playtime being particularily challenging). mon oncle, a popular favorite, and beautifully restored here in saturated colors, is a comedy that comments on the threatened loss of the enjoyment of the simple things in life due to the demands of the modern world. or at least those demands that have been self-inflicted. it is just as prescient today as the it must have been in 1958, maybe more so. terry jones' nice opening commentaries comment on tati's carefully constructed sight-gags, but i find tati's subtle commentaries on the modern world to be more interesting. note, for instance, that the workers who are perpetually demolishing older buildings are encroaching towards hulot's charming neighborhood as the film progresses. i cannot recommend tati's films highly enough. and for those who collect criterion releases but are somewhat unsure of this sudden rash of releases by a relatively unknown french auteur, i say jump right in, and if you can't stand tati's films after several viewings, e-mail me and i'll buy them from you! p.s. the additional feature alone is worth the price for tati fans.