Great Shot of the Week
Mon Oncle (1958)
Dir. Jacques Tati
Just a brilliant little sight gag, merely one in a film overflowing with them. What Tati employs through this film is the logical fore bearer to his masterpiece, Playtime, in which a world of tradition and conservatism clashes somewhat awkwardly with the modernism that has begun to pervade. Whereas Playtime shows a world quite used to the overwhelming presence of technology, Mon Oncle captures a moment just at the brink of innovation, where the objects made for show are used sparingly and with awkward trepidation. Not to mention the looming irony that said objects created to make life easier end up occupying more human energy than before.
And with these ideas and commentaries come Tati’s defining stamp, his obsession with silent film. The conservatism he approaches and pokes fun at is in essence the exact fiber making up Mon Oncle. His film is not mere homage; it’s a stubborn refusal to believe that silent cinema ever died.