Synopsis by Keith Phipps
Arriving nearly a decade after Mon Oncle, Playtime continues the adventures of M. Hulot. More than a decade seems to have passed since its predecessor, however. The colorful Paris of Mon Oncle, last seen being slowly chipped away by progress, has now vanished almost entirely. Playtime takes as its setting an ultra-modern Paris where familiar landmarks appear only as fleeting reflections in the new buildings of glass and steel. Alternating between Hulot and a group of American tourists, Tati exploits the chaos just below the overly ordered surface of this brave new world. Again moving from one nearly wordless episode to another, Tati sends his alter ego off to make an appointment in a whirring, featureless office complex. He subsequently moves on to an exhibition of new inventions, meets an old friend at an aquarium-like apartment, wreaks havoc in a snooty new restaurant, and, again, almost falls in love. The most ambitious and technically complex of the Hulot films, it proved unprofitable and helped usher in the financial difficulties that would plague Tati late in life before later getting the recognition it enjoys today.
progress, building, modernization, skyscraper
High Historical Importance, High Production Values