Screened as part of NZIFF 2003

Playtime 1967

Directed by Jacques Tati

France / Italy In French, German and Japanese with English subtitles
119 minutes 35mm



Jacques Tati
Jacques Lagrange


Jean Badal
Andréas Winding


Gérard Pollicand


Francis Lemarque


Jacques Tati
Barbara Dennek
Jacqueline Lecomte
Valérie Camille


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