Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"The Magnificent Tati" Posts at ZAP

Around six months ago, we got a cold e-mail inquiry from filmmaker Michael House then in production on his new documentary on the life and work of the great French film auteur Jacques Tati. Michael hails from the Bay Area but has been an expat living and working in London for many years. He yearned to return to the Bay to finish his film. The subject matter alone got me interested. ZAP's scope includes motion graphics, on-line HD conforming, color grading and sound design. The film is scheduled to air on the British SkyTV network sometime early next year. The Magnificent Tati will premier at the "Totally Tati" retrospective film series in Edinburgh on November 26. All six of Tati's masterworks will being showcased in an ongoing French Film Festival in Europe.

I have loved Tati's great films since college, and I was thrilled when The Criterion Collection released the controversial and fascinating "Play Time" (1967) on Blu-ray disc earlier this year. Here is just one fascinating factoid: Jacques Tati, a performing mime artist and showman had been cast as a back-up to play the mime "Baptiste" in Marcel Carnet's 1945 landmark Les enfants du paradis, in case the great
Jean-Louis Barrault had been unavailable to take the part. Michael's documentary is full of fascinating historical and aesthestic info, chronicling the amazing career of a well-known filmmaker whose output was actually very small: just six films. We hear from Tati fans Black Francis/Frank Black (formerly of the Pixies) and Craig McCracken, creater of the Powerpuff Girls cartoon series; we learn that every episode has at least one visual reference to a Tati film!

From the filmmaker's website: Sit Up Straight Films

‘The Magnificent Tati’
a feature factual film on the life and work of iconic French director/comedian Jacques Tati. One of cinemas greatest artists, Tati pushed cinema to its limits with six feature films that redefined how we experience movies. ‘The Magnificent Tati’ will be the first English language feature to explore the Tati legacy, produced in collaboration with the Jacques Tati Archive in Paris, this film will offer unprecedented access to the world of Tati. The film examines Tati’s life and work and the massive influence his films have had on contemporary art, film, music and design. Shot on RedOne.

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