Day 159: Future Noir: The Making of ‘Blade Runner’ (1982) + M. Hulot’s Holiday (1953)

Future Noir: The Making of ‘Blade Runner’ (1982)

This was one of those days where I read and read for hours and hours. I’d watched Australia wrap up the last few wickets against England in the Second Test Match, in the early hours, then just kept on reading. I guess tomorrow will be when I watch the last Antonioni film in the early 1960s trilogy – L’Eclisse (1962).

Just about to watch M. Hulot’s Holiday (1953), the second of the two Jacques Tati film I have set myself the task of watching. The great one (according to the S&S BFI list) is Playtime (1967) which I will get to seven days from now. If I’m going to understands Playtime‘s place of the list of great films, I need to do that in the context of Tati’s other films, and Chaplin, who I’ve just finished with. It seems a natural match.

I’ve co-opted my 87-year old father into this Chaplin and Tati project. I’ve now done The Gold Rush, Modern Times and City Lights with him on consecutive Wednesdays and then tossed in Jour de fête and tonight, Hulot’s Holiday. Next week Playtime.

M. Hulot’s Holiday (1953)

This is a lovely, gentle film. My Dad’s always been a huge fan of Tati, so I grew up with repeated viewings of this film and Mon Oncle (1958). In fact, I even saw Playtime and Traffic at the movies – in a theatre – like, a real cinema with a big screen. They didn’t screen French films like this on television in the late sixties and seventies. Well, not often, as I recall. There was no SBS then.

The whole humour of Tati in this film is so much more refined than his earlier one, Jour de fête (1947). The gags often last less than a minute, and then there are some big ones, like the one with him in the boat, which are beautifully judged and executed.

What surprised me most, though, was how beautiful his filming of the location is. The photography and framing – just wonderful. His setup shots – establishing shots – are beautiful. Even if I see his humour here as being quite casual, and brings a smile more often than a laugh, but his skills as a director are formidable. It is such a beautiful looking film.