I meant to bring up Film Forum’s upcoming retrospective of French actor/filmmaker/Jacques Tati-collaborator/illustrator, Pierre Étaix — but it looks like Adrian Curry of Movie Poster of the Week beat me to it — with a much better, more detailed layout.
Who says all clowns are created equal? Pierre Étaix, most famous in the design world as the illustrator of the iconic red Mon Oncle movie poster, has done it all. Getting his start in showbiz as a clown in the mid-’50s, he later served an apprenticeship under Jacques Tati as his gofer, gag writer, assistant director, and storyboardist.
But that wasn’t enough for the ambitious funnyman Étaix, as he went onto act and direct in a slew of critcally-acclaimed films, including The Suitor and Le Grand Amour — and then also became known as such a comic genius that Paris-Match dubbed him “the French Buster Keaton” and was often compared to Jerry Lewis, to his dismay.
Oh yeah, did I mention that Étaix is still
clowning around working, too? The guy just finished up a part in the 2009 release, Micmacs — but if you want to go back to look at his ’60s classics, the films have recently been restored for all to enjoy!
Like Hitchcock, Jacques Tati wasn’t afraid to insert himself into his movies as his Monsieur Hulot character/profile was finely cultivated and featured prominently in many of these alternative versions of posters from various countries.
Jacques Tati, the French filmmaker known for his playful, experimental films of sound and color, was one of the first directors to make Modernism funny. Although his movies aren’t exactly a barrel of laughs, the wit and style is abundantly clear (even if I did fall asleep in college during a screening of Playtime). The fact that he is often mentioned as one of the greatest directors of all-time even though he only made six feature films is a legacy in itself.
But I’m sure this masterful minimalist would’ve been bored to tears with all the fawning and retrospectives, so let’s not talk and just sit back and enjoy the ride…