115 minutes| France-Italy| 1958| Subtitled| Colour| 35mm

This classic comedy is a perfect encapsulation of the mid-20th century conflict between the rise of modernism and the preservation of more traditional forms of architecture, particularly in urban design. Whereas Jacques Tati’s Monsieur Hulot lives in an area that is representative of the typical small French town, his nephew lives in an area undergoing the first phases of post-war urban renewal. Tati was renowned for the ways in which he utilised architecture in his films (see also 1967’s PlayTime), and Mon oncle serves as a pointed critique of the modernist trend; the child’s home is sterile and isolated, while Hulot’s home is part of a neighbourhood, a communal environment shown as infinitely preferable. To further emphasise his argument, there are a number of sequences demonstrating how the family must arrange its daily routine by submitting to the demands of the house’s design, all done with Tati’s customary visual humour.

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