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Playtime film image, overhead view of office cubicles

The older you get, the more you will identify with Jacques Tati’s alter-ego, Monsieur Hulot, a bumbling Everyman figure bamboozled by a world that seems to have outpaced his comprehension. There’s not much more to the story in Playtime than this: Hulot in Paris, 1967. As Tati put it, this was “probably the smallest script ever to be made in 70 millimeter.”

Yet it is more than enough. It’s two and a half hours long, and most people would happily watch it again and again, because each scene is densely layered with multiple sight gags.

Inspired by the silent slapstick comedians, and above all Charlie Chaplin, Tati was modernity’s clown; technology his banana skin. No filmmaker scrutinised the rapid architectural, scientific and sociological evolution of Gaullist France as quizzically as Tati in Jour de Fete (1949), Mon Hulot’s Holidays (1953) and Mon Oncle (1958). By Playtime (1967), his alter-ego Monsieur Hulot’s world has been transformed, and he seemed more than ever an anachronism. Shot over three years, the film was a commercial disaster which bankrupted its director, but it’s now evident that this is his masterpiece, a city symphony for the modern man.

Sunday’s Pantheon screening will be preceded by a 15 minute introductory lecture and feature a book club-style discussion afterwards.

A feast of subtle sight gags, playful noise and, above all, visual wonders.

Dave Calhoun, Time Out

Tati’s most elaborate film, Playtime stands as his masterpiece, an awe-inspiring work of intricate choreography with a heart to match its technical expertise.

Keith Phipps, The AV Club

Totally original and personal, this is a vast modern comic/poetic epic, lyrical, austere and strange.

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune


Presented by


Jacques Tati


Jacques Tati

Country of Origin





In French with English subtitles

152 min

Book Tickets

Sunday December 15

11:00 am
Guests/Q&As Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Book Now

Tuesday December 17

5:50 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Book Now



Jacques Tati


Jean Badal, Andréas Winding


Gérard Pollicand

Original Music

Francis Lemarque

Production Design

Eugène Roman

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Dir. Jacques Tati
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Jacques Tati was modernity's clown; technology his banana skin. Here his alter-ego Monsieur Hulot navigates a sterile Paris that seems designed to thwart his every wish.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre