The French do things differently from us in the Anglo-Saxon world. And comedy is no exception. The cinematic work of Jacques Tati has been likened to that of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, even Rowan Atkinson, whose Mr Bean recalls many of Tati's mannerisms.
There are similarities certainly. But there is also something very French about Tati's great creation, Monsieur Hulot; particularly in Hulot's ill-fated engagement with a baffling and impersonal urban world shaped by American technology.
So there is something apt about the timing of this year's mini Tati revival in France and the release of a new animated movie. Many of us are feeling rather baffled by a world of collapsing subprime mortgages and rampant Twittering. And the mood of wistful melancholy that pervades Tati's films fits these times like a comfortable trilby.
Monsieur Hulot, quel plaisir de vous revoir!
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