VenueWalter Reade Theater
Restored 70mm print!
After the success of Mon Oncle in 1958, Jacques Tati had become fed up with his signature Monsieur Hulot character. Slowly, he inched his way toward a new kind of cinema—a supremely democratic film starring “everybody,” in which the wonders of modern life would relinquish their functionality and become a ravishingly beautiful backdrop to pure human delirium. Tati's journey to Playtime was a long one, 10 years in all. The massive set known as Tativille was built in Saint-Meurice, at the southeast corner of Paris: 100 construction workers made two buildings out of 11,700 square feet of glass, 38,700 square feet of plastic, 31,500 square feet of timber, and 486,000 square feet of concrete. Tativille had its own power plant and approach road, and building number one had its own working escalator. At the end of the road, there was ignominy and bankruptcy. But Jacques Tati was secure in the knowledge that, with Playtime, he had made a masterpiece.