Trafic (1971)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Comedy, Road Movie, Urban Comedy  |   Release Date - Dec 11, 1972 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - France, Italy  |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Lucia Bozzola

The director's second to last feature, Jacques Tati's Trafic also became the swan song of his popular Mr. Hulot character. Intended as more of a crowd-pleaser after the expensive failure of his Hulot masterwork Playtime (1967), Tati's trench-coated naïf contends with the fallout of car mania as he escorts a fully loaded camper car to an Amsterdam auto show, including a pompous public relations woman, truck problems, traffic pile-ups, an elaborate collision, and road rage. Though not up to par with the prior trio of Hulot films, the character's final satirical confrontation with the modern world's absurdities is still occasionally elevated by such signature Tati-isms as expressively non-natural colors, geometrically astute compositions, witty visual puns, and an array of silly walks. Though Trafic was meant to help Tati recoup his losses from Playtime, it failed to save the filmmaker from bankruptcy. While Tati's filmmaking fate was troubled, however, the always humanistic Hulot got to walk off into a cleansing rainstorm with a beautiful woman on his arm, shielded (of course) by his trusty umbrella.