This week I have seen two very good film comedies.
First "Playtime", written, directed and starring Jacques Tati as Monsieur Hulot.
Tati wrote films that created social situations as his main story line, constantly in the background, but he concentrated on the individuals on the edge of that situation, those who were not socially blessed, a little awkward, don't quite fit in. Tati's main creation is Monsieur Hulot and he is one of those, he has a funny walk, he dresses badly, not good at small talk, he is very cack-handed with gadgets and technology, loved by kids and dogs. There isn't much dialogue in a Hulot film, the comedy is nearly all based on situations and reactions. "Playtime" was Tati's last film and he had a huge set built, an American style business and office park of the 1960's, all glass and steel (I loved it). The plot is simple, Hulot has to go to an appointment in one of these buildings but everything goes wrong - just getting into the building is a major challenge. Marvellous stuff, so funny, particularly a glass door (Tati and doors, in his films he gets so much humour using doors).
The second film was "Grand Budapest Hotel", directed by Wes Anderson and starring Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori and a huge cast of current great names in small parts. I was surprised by how much I liked this film, B had wanted to see it, I had doubts, but I am glad she prevailed. This is a lovely film, very funny, beautifully conceived and designed, beautifully acted.