Saturday, May 23, 2015

2015 Cannes Marathon: Parade

(Played Out of Competition at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival)

Written, directed, and starring Jacques Tati, Parade is a film in which Tati serves as the ringmaster and as a clown in a circus where it plays into the interaction between audience and performers. The film serves as a testament to the world of entertainment as it also shows these performances from the perspective of the audiences. The result is an exciting and exuberant film from Jacques Tati.

Shot on location in Sweden as it was filmed for Swedish television in 1973, the film is essentially a circus performance where audience and performers come together to do a show led by Jacques Tati. It is there where Tati not only celebrates the art of mime and performance which he largely based his work on but also allows an audience of young and old to see it in a modern fashion. With the aid of many acrobats, mime performers, gymnasts, jugglers, artists, and musicians, Tati puts on a show that isn’t just whimsical but also heartfelt as it plays into his love of mime and performance. Tati would do some of his own solo performances in the show while letting others do their acts. At the same time, the audience would participate as a middle-aged man would try to get an opportunity to ride a donkey with hilarious results.

Since there’s not much of a script, Tati allows the film to be presented in various formats such as video, 16mm, and 35mm where it has a look that is quite colorful and energetic. Even as Tati would shoot scenes behind-the-scenes where he would converse with his performers on what to do next as the audience themselves are watching. It’s a moment where the fourth wall is broken as it allows the audience to be part of the show as Tati always have the camera focused on two young kids who start off being either disinterested or unsure of what to think of the show. Yet, they become engaged by what is happening as there’s a lot of silliness and exuberance that occurs in these performances. Notably as there’s performers who pretend to be musicians and do silly gymnastic stunts along with jugglers and musicians that add a lot of excitement to these performances.

Tati’s direction also displays a fluidity to the camera work as it was shot in these multiple formats by cinematographers Jean Badal and Gunnar Fischer. Even as Tati knows when to shoot the audience and see their reaction to the performance while having cardboard black-and-white figures also play the role of the audience. It has this blur over what is real and what is fiction as the audience themselves could also be playing fictional roles. With the aid of editors Sophie Tatischeff, Per Carlesson, Siv Lundgren, Jonny Mair, and Aline Asseo, Tati is able to keep things lively as it manages to be straightforward in its approach to cutting. Sound recordist Bengt Nordwall does excellent work in capturing not just the excitement of the audience but also in the sounds that occur in the performances. The film’s music by Francois Bronett is a joyous mix of orchestral dancehall, brass, flamenco, and some rock music to help present the diversity of the performances that occur in the film.

Parade is a spectacular film from Jacques Tati. It’s a film that manages to be thoroughly entertaining as well as bring in some big laughs to anyone from a child to an adult. It’s also a film that doesn’t just celebrate the world of mimes and circus but also allows the audience to be part of the spectacle. In the end, Parade is a dazzling film from Jacques Tati.

Jacques Tati Films: Jour de Fete - Monsieur Hulot's Holiday - Mon Oncle - Playtime - Trafic - The Short Films of Jacques Tati - The Auteurs #49: Jacques Tati

© thevoid99 2015

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