Source: The French Review, Vol. 76, No. 2 (Dec., 2002), pp. 318-329 Published by: American Association of Teachers of French
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3132711
Accessed: 25/11/2009 13:02
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=french. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission.
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact email@example.com.
American Association of Teachers of French is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The French Review.
THEFRENCH EVIEW,ol. 76, No. 2, December2002 Printedn U.S.A.
In the Modernist Mirror:
Jacques Tati and the
Les clefs de l'urbanismesont dans les
recreer(dans les heures libres),circuler.
Le Corbusier, La Charted'Athenes
that filmmaker Jacques Tati ever read Le Corone of the principal theorists of architectural modernism, but the busier,
work of these two otherwise quite disparate artists shows a surprising affinity for particular themes of modern urban experience. In La Charte d'Athenes, conceived at the 1933 meeting of the Congres Intemationaux d'Architecture Moderne as a guide for thinking about the present and future of cities, Le Corbusier divides urban life into four functions for purposes of analysis and suggestion.1 These categories-habitation, loisirs, travail, circulation-could well define the entire corpus of Tati's feature film career, which was contemporaneous with the great wave of social and cultural change in France after World War II. Tati was one of very few filmmakers to investigate in any depth the evolving technologicalsocial nexus of French society in this period of the 1950s and 60s that saw massive and rapid urbanization, shifts in structures and patterns of work and leisure, and the expansion of the automobile sector within the context of a developing consumer culture. In his first feature, Jourdefete in 1948, Tati focuses on the importation of new and sophisticated methods of mail transportation into a rural community, while in the second, Les Vacances de M. Hulot from 1953, leisure time and the automobile are major themes. In 1958's Mon oncle the burgeoning car culture of France is a principal player, while Tati also begins IT
IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY
JACQUES TATI AND THE PARISIAN LANDSCAPE
here to take a close look at urban Paris. In Playtime almost ten years later (1967), the director concentrates exclusively on the contemporary urban environment, in an era when official policy in Paris decreed conversion to modernism along the lines theorized by Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus architects in the twenties and thirties.2 In this middle or architectural period of the 1958 and 1967 films, Tati takes on the city by investigating the new physical spaces in which particular groups and individuals...