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IL ÉTAIT UNE FOIS… MON ONCLE


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ONCE UPON A TIME... MY UNCLE

Director Camille Clavel
Writers Serge July, Marie Genin, Camille Clavel
Image Nicolas Duchene, Caroline Champetier, Simon Lepeutrec
Sound Thierry Blandin, Alexandre Hernandez
Editing Gwen Mallauran
Length 52 mins
Format 16/9
Versions French and English
Broadcasters France 5, TCM, TSR

Protagonists:

  • Pierre ETAIX, filmmaker and Jacques Tati’s artistic collaborator
  • Jean-Claude CARRIÈRE, author, scriptwriter
  • Jérôme DESCHAMPS, director
  • Macha MAKEIEFF, director, set designer
  • Colette DE GLASIER, actress in Playtime
  • Jean NOUVEL, architect
  • Philippe STARCK, artistic director
  • David LYNCH, filmmaker

PORTRAIT OF A FILM. The Arpel family is an example of social success. He is a serious businessman, she is a perfect housewife. Everything in their home is new, geometric and functional: the neighbourhood, the house, the appliances, the car, and even the garden. The only thing missing is the taste for life and fantasy which the young Arpel boy experiences with his uncle, Monsieur Hulot, “the failure of the family “. Mister Hulot is a happy man; he lives in a small district of the old Saint-Maur where everyone knows and appreciates each other. The arrival at the Arpel’s house of such a gangly, whimsical, almost mute and recurring hero played by the filmmaker himself, will turn their world upside down. Released in 1958, “My Uncle” is a huge critical and public success. It won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in Hollywood the following year, where it earned praise from Buster Keaton, Mack Sennett and Harold Lloyd.

PORTRAIT OF AN ERA. Fifteen years after the end of the war, the France of the late 1950s is swept along by the euphoria of a strong growth, the emergence of the consumer society, the household arts, and the leisure industry. The culture of Cars and TV sets, plastic and record players was born. But the country was holding its breath: the Fourth Republic was in agony, several generals attempted a putsch in Algiers to maintain French Algeria. Back in power, General de Gaulle rescued France from the crisis and had a referendum ratify a new Constitution. « My Uncle » a frontier film on the borderline between the Fourth and Fifth Republics, between old neighbourhoods destined to be demolished and new cities with their avant-garde pavilions, such as the Villa Arpel. Monsieur Hulot moves between the old world and the new, where he teaches freedom to his nephew.

PORTRAIT OF A FILMMAKER.  “My Uncle” is the third film by Jacques Tati (1907-1982), after “The big day “, the nostalgic chronicle of a village, and ” Mr Hulot’s holidays “, a funny social comedy about paid holidays. “My Uncle” earns Jacques Tati the status of an international star. Hollywood offers him a fortune to produce the sequel to “My Uncle” on condition that it is filmed in the United States with Sophia Loren. But Tati declines the invitation. “Playtime”, his next film, is a radical criticism of the consumer society and the entertainment industry. Released a year before May 68, it is a public failure and a financial disaster. Traffic” and “Parade”, his last film, will be released next. Despite his total indifference to world events, Jacques Tati was a great visionary of the excesses of contemporary Western society.