Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Dichotomy of Old France and Modern France

Near the mouth of the Loire is the tiny village of Saint-Marc-sur-Mer, made famous, to film buffs, by Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot. A national treasure, you would think, but there appears to be still some resistance to Jacques Tati's work in France. Well that is according to some of the dedicated young French pilgrims we met in the renowned door-swishing/squeaking Hotel de la Plage that seems to be pretty much unchanged since filming in 1952. The problem is “the film openly lampoons several hidebound elements of French political and economic classes,” (
which apparently made it less than popular at home although a huge international hit. I can find little proof of these sentiments in online research and could have made a grave mistake in translation, especially in the heat of flowing armagnac at the bar. (I always believe I parle français fluently when two sheets to the wind, I don’t). Tati loved the old France and mistrusted the sterile development of Modern France as he depicted so succinctly in his satire Mon Oncle, a view that probably endorsed his complete endearment to us foreigners. Treat yourself and watch some Tati this Christmas. Above Nick and Tati, together at last.

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