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Trafic (1971)

Mr. Hulot drives a recreational vehicle from Paris to Amsterdam in his usual comical, disastrous style.

Director:

Writers:

(original scenario), (artistic collaboration) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Monsieur Hulot (as Mr. Hulot)
Marcel Fraval ...
Honoré Bostel ...
Director of ALTRA
François Maisongrosse ...
François (as F. Maisongrosse)
Tony Knepper ...
Franco Ressel
Marco Zuanelli ...
Mechanic (as Mario Zanuelli)
Maria Kimberly ...
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Storyline

At Altra Motors, Mr. Hulot designs an ingenious camper car with lots of clever features. A lorry hauls the prototype to an important auto show in Amsterdam, with Mr. Hulot alongside in his car and a spoiled, trendy PR exec, the young Maria, in her sports car packed with designer clothes and her fluffy dog. The lorry has every imaginable problem, delaying its arrival. A flat tire, no gas, an accident, a run-in with police, a stop at a garage, and numerous traffic jams showcase vignettes of people and their cars. Through interactions with these down-to-earth folks, Maria gradually loses her imperious conceit, becoming much more relaxed and fetching. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

traffic | police | dog | road | repairman | See All (32) »

Taglines:

The Master of Comedy Gets Caught in a Jam!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

11 December 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Trafic  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the car-show in Amsterdam, Hulot's company Altra has a spot which is captured by Volvo and their new series Volvo 140 sedan and Volvo 145 station-wagon. See more »

Goofs

at 0:09:24 a man carrying 3 boxes has has black and yellow strips on the right side and in the next shot at 0:09:26 stripes position changes to left. See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, Tati is billed simply as "M. Hulot." He does, of course, use his real name for his writing and directing credits. See more »

Connections

Follows Playtime (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Thème La Route
Written and Performed by Charles Dumont
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The last we'll see of M. Hulot, and a melancholy farewell it is
17 September 2008 | by See all my reviews

What can we make of Trafic, Jacques Tati's last film? It certainly isn't a major success, as M. Hulot's Holiday and Mon Oncle are. It's not a gallant failure, as I believe Playtime is. It seems to me that it is a sad, sometimes amusing combination of those things that made Tati so unique, so funny, so problematic and so drawn to making mundane social commentary. There must be something in the water we drink or the bread we eat that causes some humans with extraordinary artistic gifts to believe that because they are great artists they also must have equally great gifts of social philosophy, gifts which they are determined to share with us.

By the time Tati made Trafic, four years after Playtime, he had lost ownership of his life's work, his films, and most of his money. Playtime was a debacle. He spent a fortune, his own as well as others, to craft a perfectionist's dream of artistic control. He ended up with a movie that was filled with surprises, layer on layer of -- for wont of a better term -- sight and sound gags, with fascinatingly complex amusements for an audience willing to let the situations develop around them, and seemingly endless, obvious and often impersonal visual commentary on the homogenizing of modern society and the perils of technology. Most moviegoers were not all that interested.

Now, with Trafic, Mr. Hulot has come back. He is a designer for a Paris auto company, and he has developed a camping vehicle like no other. Trafic is the story of Mr. Hulot's delivery of his camper from Paris to an international auto show in Amsterdam. It's a long journey filled with misunderstandings, accidents and crashes, a PR executive with an endless number of dress changes, cops, windshield wipers and a lot of cars. The movie is as exquisitely built as an expensive vest pocket timepiece. Unfortunately, time has a way of catching us up, and Mr. Hulot now is a man past middle age, where male innocence seems unlikely and somewhat unattractive. Tati was 64 now, and he looks it. The gentle, innocent mime who meets unexpected personal situations at a small seaside hotel or tries to help his young nephew has been replaced by a well-meaning older gentleman we more often observe than we root for. His encounters with the clichés of faceless technology and bumbling bureaucracy are increasingly with people with few understandable, sympathetic foibles. Mr. Hulot to be at his best needs people we can come to like and interact with, not simply interchangeable stand- ins...even if they're picking their noses in the privacy of their cars (in a sight gag probably only Tati could have pulled off).

Mr. Hulot only appeared in four feature-length movies. It is Tati's genius that in less than 500 minutes he gave us such a memorable and appealing human being. Tati's layering of sight gags is unique and often intensely and unexpectedly funny. With Trafic, however, I found my interest more intellectual than anything else. There were stretches of the film that simply weren't all that engaging. And this, of course, is all just opinion.


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