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Doha Film Institute pays homage to Jacques Tati with showcase of films entitled ‘Master of Modern Comedy’

Mar 03, 2014

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  • Doha Film Institute pays tribute to one of the most beloved comedian-auteurs in the history of cinema
  • Film series to screen in March during worldwide celebration of Francophone week, which is to be celebrated in Qatar from Sunday 16 March to Saturday 22 March, under the High Patronage of His Excellency Dr. Hamad Al Kuwari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage.
  • Showcase to mark first screening of digital restorations of Tati’s films in the Middle Eas

Doha, Qatar; Monday March 3, 2014: Doha Film Institute, with the support of the French Embassy in Qatar and the Institut Français du Qatar, celebrates the legacy of French comedian-auteur Jacques Tati with a special showcase of films entitled ‘Master of Modern Comedy: Jacques Tati.’

Taking place in March during the worldwide celebration of Francophone week, and as part of the Katara-Doha Film Institute Cinema Series, the Institute will showcase four films, through new digital restorations which are being shown in the Gulf region for the first time.

The showcase includes Jour de fête (1949); M. Hulot’s Holiday (1954); Mon oncle (1958); and Playtime (1967). The four films will screen at the Katara Drama Theatre from 17 to 20 March at 7:30pm.

Tati’s style of filmmaking was truly distinct and his films are considered timeless classics. He garnered global acclaim, with Mon oncle scooping the Cannes Jury Prize and Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1958.

Over the course of his career, Tati worked as an actor, writer, and director, and is best-known for his trademark slapstick comedy and his gentle critique of the modern world.

His Excellency Jean-Christophe Peaucelle, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic to the State of Qatar will attend the official opening of the showcase featuring Jour de fête on 17 March.

A special screening of Playtime will be presented exclusively for school students at 10:00am on 20 March as part of the Doha Film Institute’s ongoing year-round activities for young people in the community.

Ludmila Cvikova, Head of Film Programming, Doha Film Institute, said: “We are very proud to provide our audiences in Qatar the opportunity to experience the work of beloved French director Jacques Tati. He is a master of visual comedy whose meticulous approach to slapstick has been merrily celebrated for more than 50 years. Whether seeing Tati’s films for the first time, reliving cherished moments of humour, or introducing youngsters to some of the best comedy world cinema has to offer, I am certain our local audiences will find the Tati experience one to remember.”

His Excellency Jean-Christophe Peaucelle said: “Jacques Tati is a cultural icon of France and his comedic critique of life in the modern world is as amusing and relevant today as it was when the films were made. I am delighted that local audiences will have the opportunity to experience the magic of Tati’s films on the big screen during the upcoming Semaine de la Francophonie and I look forward to sharing this piece of cinematic history with our Doha community.”

Screening on 17 March, Jour de fête was Tati’s first feature film and had its premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in 1949. In it, Tati introduced several elements that are common throughout his work, including his immaculately choreographed slapstick and his distinctive use of sound and dialogue.

The film follows François, the local postman, who is hard at work delivering the daily mail on his bicycle on the day his village is having its annual fête. Inspired by a film about the advanced delivery methods of the United States Postal Service, François decides to deliver mail in the American style, resulting in some truly hilarious antics.

M. Hulot’s Holiday brought Tati’s style of comedy to the world. From its opening sequence, which features a crowd of excited vacationers rushing up and down stairs of a train station trying to find the correct platform, the film introduces us to M. Hulot, Tati’s iconic Frenchman, who always seems to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Five years after his debut, the beloved M. Hulot reappears in Tati’s Mon oncle, in which the character has a series of very funny run-ins with the superficial trappings of modern life in France. M. Hulot, who lives in a rundown Parisian apartment, with his affluent sister and brother-in-law, showcases the dissonance between the lifestyles of the bourgeois and the middle class.

Playtime takes place over the course of 24 hours, as M. Hulot meanders through the streets of a hyper-modern Paris, where he visits a trade show, engages with a group of economy-class American tourists, becomes hopelessly lost in the impenetrable maze of an office tower, and spends a crazy night in a fashionable restaurant.

During the production of Playtime, Tati’s set was so extensive, it became known as ‘Tativille,’ complete with glass-and-steel office buildings and a working escalator. The film is a magnificently imaginative cinematic treasure that is considered his masterpiece.

Tickets will be on sale from Monday 3 March. Tickets for single screenings are QAR 35 per person, and QAR 25 per student. A special Tati ticket package is available for QAR 80 which grants the buyer one ticket to each of the four screenings in the series (available online and in person while supplies last). For more information about group discounts, online and in-person ticket purchases, please visit www.dohafilminstitute.com

Organisers seeking information about bookings for school groups can contact schools@dohafilminstitute.com

For more information about the Francophone week and the events to be held at this occasion, please visit www.institutfrancais-qatar.com