Jacques Tati's fifth picture in 25 years (his fourth, PLAYTIME, was not released until 1973), TRAFFIC is a collection of sight gags concerning the modern problem of automobile overpopulation. Tati again plays himself in this English-dubbed outing--the rain-coated, pipe-smoking
eccentric--though now he has invented an ultramodern camping vehicle. With Kimberly, the public relations girl of his firm, he plans to take his new car from Paris to an Amsterdam auto show. A long series of misadventures befalls them.
Any plot synopsis of a Tati picture proves to be fruitless since what is most important are the visual gags. So vital are the visuals that Tati rarely uses dialogue, thereby negating the need for subtitles. One of the picture's funniest moments is Tati's attempt to climb the vines that cling to a
house, pulling them down in the process. Instead of stopping there, however, he yanks them back up and winds up hanging upside down by his foot, refusing to give in and yell for help. Many of the film's brightest moments do not even include Tati (it was his wish that he would eventually be only a
minor character in his films). One gag has Kimberly thinking that her dog has been crushed by the back wheel of her sports car. She is unaware that a group of mischievous passersby simply put one of their coats (which is made from the same fur as the dog) under the wheel. Other brilliant bits are
created through montage. Various people are seen picking their noses while waiting for traffic to advance; or a connection is made between the car a person drives and that person's physical appearance; or a connection between the person and the movement of their windshield wipers. Tati, who's
brilliant at commenting on modernization, here again provides insights into modern life that make for one of the freshest and funniest pictures to hit the screen in years.
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- Released: 1972
- Rating: G
- Review: Jacques Tati's fifth picture in 25 years (his fourth, PLAYTIME, was not released until 1973), TRAFFIC is a collection of sight gags concerning the modern problem of automobile overpopulation. Tati again plays himself in this English-dubbed outing--the rain… (more)