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Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot)

(French 1953 b 87')

En: 6 Ed: 6

People try to enjoy their vacation at a seaside resort, and the bumbling Mr. Hulot has various adventures.

         People go to a seaside resort by train, bus, and cars. Martine (Nathalie Pascaud) gets a room by the beach. A noisy old car finally arrives, and Mr. Hulot (Jacques Tati) opens the door, letting wind into the lobby of the hotel. In the evening he goes to the dining room.

         The next day Martine puts on music in her room. At the beach a boy uses a magnifying glass to start fires. A boat being painted slides into the sea. A bell summons guests to the dining room for lunch. Hulot reaches across a man’s face for the salt. Hulot carries a heavy bag for Martine’s friend. In the evening Hulot plays loud music until someone turns it off. Two women prepare for a hike, and Hulot carries a pack.

         On the beach people exercise. Hulot sits in a kayak and paints. In the water it folds up on him. People think it is a shark and run away. Hulot leaves footprints on the floor. In his old car Hulot gives a man a ride. The top collapses, and they find themselves at a funeral. He gives the spare tire to a man carrying a wreath of flowers. Men help Hulot remove his car. He comes back, and in a reception line he shakes hands with everyone.

         Mr. Hulot gets a racket and wins at tennis with a motion he learned. At night he plays ping pong and chases the ball in the lobby. Card players quarrel.

         The next day Mr. Hulot calls on Martine. While he waits, he straightens pictures. A fox fur is caught on his spur. Martine gets on a horse, but he has difficulty with his. It kicks a car, and he runs off. A little boy carries ice cream cones. A politician speaks on the radio. Martine wears a mask and dances with Hulot.

         People are getting in cars for an outing, but Hulot’s car is being towed. A woman gives her place to Martine, and the other cars leave. A socialist reads to her. An older man directs the cars off the road, and they have a picnic. Hulot’s car is stopped on the road with him under it. A tire is flat, and he tries to jack up the car but only raises the women in the back seat. The car falls off the jack and rolls down hill and through a gate into a rich man’s yard. At night Hulo accidentally sets off fireworks on the beach. He turns on a faucet but discovers the hose goes to a sprinkler. The guests wake up, and someone turns on the loud music again.

         The next morning people are ready to leave and are saying goodbye to each other. An Englishwoman tells Hulot that she had a good time. Hulot has a new tire and drives his car.

         This innovative comedy relies mostly on pantomime humor. How tourists behave on their vacations is explored and satirized.

Copyright © 2009 by Sanderson Beck

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