Movies play an important part in life of every modern person, since the films help children to learn the world around them and assist adults in learning something new or seeing how the director imagines characters of a favorite book. However, everybody watches films to relax after a hard working day or a day at school. This paper is devoted to one of the most impressing movies in the history of the world’s cinema industry, Playtime.
This movie was shot by Jacques Tati, a French director, in 1967. At that time, this film was the most expensive film that has ever been shot in France. The peculiarity of this movie is that Tati charms his audience not with special effects but with colorful scenes and dresses. Another interesting thing about this movie is that there are only two main characters: Barbara, an American young woman, and monsieur Hulot (which was played by Tati), who is a Frenchman. The movie itself is divided into six parts:
- The airport Orly, where the American tourists arrive.
- The offices, where monsieur Hulot has a meeting and is lost in the building that is made of glass and steel; he feels like he is in the same room all the time, because the interior of all the rooms look the same.
- The trade exhibition, where both Frenchman and American tourist become acquainted to the newest gadgets of their age.
- The apartments, where monsieur Hulot is invited. His friend lives there, and one evening, the Frenchman visits him and is surrounded by the newest and ultra-modern furniture.
- The Royal Garden. The scene with the Royal Garden takes almost the whole second part of the movie. Here Monsieur Hulot meets those whom he meets in the first part of the movie and those whom he meets in the previous movies of Jacques Tati.
- The car carousel. Monsieur Hulot buys Barbara some small souvenirs that will remind her of staying in Paris.
The main idea of the movie is to show that even though nowadays Paris is covered with steel, glass, and ultra-modern buildings, one can easily find that good old Paris, full of good memories and bright emotions. The composition of the movie is wisely built: there is the beginning of the story where the narrator (or the director of the movie) shows the audience how main characters lived before they met; there is a culmination when they meet and denouement when they have to say goodbye. The uniqueness of Tati’s composition is that while watching the movie, one does not see that clearly; the audience follows the plot without thinking but remains the part of the movie.
Another peculiarity of the movie is that it was shot with 70 mm film. The important fact is that this film can transfer all the details. While watching this movie, one feels being that he or she is the part of the story. Sometimes it is difficult to understand what exactly the director wanted to shoot; the audience notices only a small part of all that is happening on the screen. It is difficult to disagree with one of the critiques who said that if this movie was staged in a theatre, it would not be better. Besides, the camera does not move often to let the audience notice everything that is happening. Moreover, the director does not use close-ups or mid-shots, since he wants people to see the whole scene and not its part. Some critiques have argued that this does not make the story funny, and it is risky not to use close-ups and even mid-shots; however, Tati managed to make it work. There is another reason for long-shots: almost all Tati’s characters were unprofessional actors, and with the usage of long-shots, he allowed them to reveal themselves.
The movie might be called a musical, because there is a great deal of choreography. It is well-known fact that a dance was one of the first ways to communicate and express feelings. Tati uses choreography to let the viewer feel what a character feels and about what he or she thinks. Every dance is deep in its sense, as well as the whole movie. Even though the movie was meant to be a comedy, it has its own deep sense: even in a city that is made of steel and glass, one can easily find warmth and kindness if he or she tries. Another peculiarity is Tati’s usage of sound. As it has been mentioned above, Tati shoots movies only with long-shots, which allows the viewer to see with many details. That is why sound is very significant in Tati’s movies: soundtrack of the movie helps the viewer to focus on some particular thing and emphasizes some particular action that is worth noticing.
The techniques that are mentioned above help the director show the audience the whole story without focusing on one character, as it is observed in modern movies. An interesting fact is that Tati does not have main characters and those who play secondary parts: all Tati’s actors play main parts, and all they are shot and noticed. The main idea of this movie is to show that even though people are living nowadays in big cities that made of concrete, glass, and steel, there are some corners where a person will not feel lonely and lost, since there are still some places where a person may find somebody to talk to, for example in a restaurant in the Royal Garden.