Screened as part of NZIFF 2003
Playtime was the most elaborate and ambitious film of Tati’s career, a comic city symphony that culminates in a restaurant scene of extraordinary intricacy and breathtaking speed. It took 100 workers more than five months to build the movie's huge setting, an ultramodern mini-city which was nicknamed ‘Tati-ville’. Initially released in 70mm and stereophonic sound, the three-hour-plus picture was gradually whittled down to less than half its original length, but it was a commercial disaster. Nonetheless, Tati was enormously proud of Playtim and, although it was not his final film, regarded it as the crowning glory of his career, a view that becomes more widespread with every screening of this recent two-hour 35mm restoration, twenty minutes longer than any version seen previously in New Zealand.
“Tati’s Hulot on the loose in a surreal, scarcely recognisable Paris, mingling intermittently with a troop of nice American matrons on a 24-hour trip… The jewel of Tati’s career is a hallucinatory comic vision on the verge of abstraction.” — Sheila Johnson, Time Out