Play Time by Jacques Tati, Masterpiece of Post-modernism 3


Play Time (1967) by Jacques Tati is a relatively unknown movie. It is a highly sophisticated visual comedy more than two hours long with nearly no dialogue, which probably explains why it was not a big success at the box office. However, the film is the best criticism of modern society that I have ever seen, and is still very relevant today. It is also a sharp criticism on modern architecture, both capturing the ideals of modernism and pointing at its delusiveness.

The movie confronts the reality of human condition to its modern idealization, culminating in a final scene where jazz and spiritedness defeat the meticulously planned urban environment,  at least for the time of a dance. Play Time is a post-modernist masterpiece because it plays with the paradoxes of human existence – humour and derision being the only possible postures.

Here are two of the many places somehow reminiscent of the Play Time setting.

Liège-Guillemins railway station, 2012

Liège-Guillemins railway station, 2012

Ibis hotel, Dresden, 2011

Ibis hotel, Dresden, 2011

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