Playtime by Jacques Tati Shot Analysis Essay

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PLAYTIME by Jacques Tati

Shot from 03:12 – 04:48 / Airport waiting room

Jacques Tati’s 1967 film, Playtime, captures a cascading series of events through the sterile architecture of Paris, in which few familiar characters inhabit. Tati’s infamous alter ego, Monsieur Hulot, haphazardly occupies many scenes as he stumbles through Paris after trying to contact an American official. The film is confined to no genre, nor does it necessarily form a new one – it simply exists in its own right as an exploration of societal function. Originally shot on 70mm, the film carries
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This trend continues, with each instance from a different position in the frame and from a varying depth. This one by one presentation of various characters acts almost as a sightly adjustment to the unusual style of the film; Jacques Tati himself ‘testing’ the audiences’ ability to look at all positions of the frame and awakening them to the vast space pictured in the shot.

The dialogue between the evidently married couple signifies the dreary reality of living in the city. She tells him to ‘take good care of [himself]’ and not to ‘catch a cold’; reassuring him that she has packed his belongings. Cleverly, the dialogue without context of place, along with nuns and what appears to be medical equipment being wheeled around by a doctor, creates the feeling of unease and procedure evoked from being inside a hospital. It is only during later shots that it is revealed that the couple are in an airport, awaiting a flight. The bleak exchanges of dialogue between the man and the woman suggest that he is being submitted into care and that they are in the waiting room, and indeed, the mise-en-scene seems to reinforce this assumption. The space is entirely unmarked,