Jour de Fete (“The Big Day”) is a 1949 French comedy directed by the legendary Jacques Tati in his feature film directional debut. It tells the story of an inept and easily distracted French postman who frequently interrupts his duties to converse with the local inhabitants, as well as inspect the travelling fair that has come to his small community. Influenced by too much wine and a newsreel account of rapid transportation methods used by the United States postal system, he goes to hilarious lengths to speed the delivery of mail while aboard his bicycle.
The film introduces what would be a key theme in Tati films, the over-reliance of Western society on technology to solve its (perceived) problems. Tati beautifully illustrates the circular nature of this futile cycle for efficiency in a great moment in the film as he practices new biking techniques while on a merry go round. Yes, he’s getting faster, but he’s going in circles. Representing ideas of Modern society and efficiency, it shows that while the world is moving faster, it moves so fast it moves back in on itself. Perhaps as prescient now as it was then ?
Originally released in 1949 and shot in black and white but also in Thomson colour, an early and untried colour film process. In 1995 technology allowed the restoration of the colour copy which was finished and released by Tati’s daughter Sophie Tatischeff and cinematographer Francois Ede.
Join us for this warm, wry critique of modern life.
Date: 20 June at 7pm
Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN
Cost: £6 in advance (tickets can be bought via the eventbrite link opposite)