Synopsis by Mark Deming
The legendary French comedian Jacques Tati returns as his most famous character, the bumbling M. Hulot, in this gentle but pointed satire of 20th Century car culture. In Trafic, Hulot is working as a designer for a major French automotive firm and is struggling to finish his latest project in time for an international auto show in Amsterdam -- a compact recreational vehicle that features everything from an electric razor and a collapsible couch to a built-in barbecue grill. While the car is completed shortly before the show opens, it doesn't run just yet, so Hulot and his mechanic (Tony Knepper) load the car into a truck and with an American public relations officer (Maria Kimberly) in tow, they hit the road for Holland. But what should be a simple trip from Paris to Amsterdam becomes increasingly complicated thanks to flat tires, breakdowns, traffic jams and multi-car pileups, and the well-intentioned M. Hulot does little to make things easier. Trafic began as a collaboration between Tati and Dutch filmmaker Bert Haanstra, but Haanstra dropped out of the project mid-way through production due to disagreements with Tati, and the great comedian finished the project on his own. Trafic proved to be one of Tati's final screen projects; his last theatrically released feature, Parade, was a shot-on-video homage to they heyday of French vaudeville and was primarily devoted to showing off his talents as a mime.
car, car-crash, traffic, trip