Friday, July 07, 2006 by , under

Well, it might not seem like much to you, but I've just learned that Criterion set themselves towards a september release of the new, remastered version of "Playtime" (1967), by french director Jacques Tati. Criterion had put it out of print for a few years --the legendary movie had become one of the rarest items on the market, its few remaining copies seen at prices above 200$ on Amazon.

In case you don't know Jacques Tati, he's probably the most brilliant filmmaker/art director to ever grace the 20th century, and his best movie (in my humble opinion),"Playtime", is simply a visual masterpiece.

In Wikipedia's words : "In Playtime, Tati's character M. Hulot and a group of American tourists lose themselves in a futuristic glass-and-steel Paris, where only human nature and a few hints of old Paris emerge to breathe life into the city. New technologies, billed as conveniences, are satirized as merely complicating life, an interference to natural human interaction. Playtime depended greatly on visual effects and sight humor, and Tati consequently shot the film on the high-resolution 70mm film format."

The film was shot over four years (1964-1967), and featured the biggest budget in the french film industry at the time. Jacques Tati completely recreated his vision of a "modern paris" by building what he called "Tativille" in Saint-Meurice, southeast of Paris - the place was so big it had its own electric power plant.

What's particular about Playtime is that it has no plot whatsoever. There's no story to follow. One might deem the film particularly boring if searching for traditional notions of storytelling. Tati is not a storyteller per se, rather a fantastic painter of modern society and all its vicissitudes.

Read a complete essay on Playtime, by Kent Jones.

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Friday Vintage TV post (0)

Friday, July 07, 2006 by , under

I've decided to replace my weekly friday squirrel posting by a weekly Vintage TV post. While some of you might actually miss the squirrely goodness, I'm sure you'll twice appreciate my research of gems from your childhood saturday mornings. If you have any special requests, post a comment and I'll see what I can do.

Now, here's today's morsel: 1969 US McDonald's propagan-er...commercial for hiring new employees. See how proud these middle-aged men are of making their living at McD's.

*singing along* "There is nothing so clean... as my burger machine!".


(Thanks, YouTube!)

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Friday Vintage TV Ad (opening special) (0)

Friday, July 07, 2006 by , under

Commercial for a toy called "Loop-A-Lot" from when I wasn't born.

Now I'm certain you all will be able to find many levels of understanding to this ad. Especially in the first few seconds of the commercial, right when the gentleman explains how the game is played. I had to rewind a few times to make sure I heard right. This thing had 1960's american kids spinning their pennies at everyone on the streets.

Ooo, now that's just plain WRONG.

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