Jour de Fete (1949)

Jour de Fete (1949)

“Let’s do it the American way!”

After watching a film about high-powered new American postal services, a bicycle-riding country postman (Jacques Tati) delivers his mail in increasingly speedy ways.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Carnivals and Circuses
  • Comedy
  • French Films
  • Jacques Tati Films
  • Village Life

French comedic-auteur Jacques Tati’s first feature-length film (he made six in total) was this expansion of his 18-minute-short entitled “L’École des facteurs” (“School for Postmen”), about nothing more than a bumbling postman delivering mail around a village. There does happen to be a carnival taking place as the film opens, which provides many of the initial sight gags, including Tati’s attempt to help with the erection of a pole:

… and his interactions with a “round-about” (merry-go-round):

After Francois (Tati) watches a film about speedy new American postal methods — including use of helicopters and motorcycles ridden through blazing fires (!) — the entire focus of the remaining storyline (such as it is) is on his zealous attempts to get mail more quickly to residents.

While several of Tati’s later films are considered must-see by many, this earlier outing is only required viewing for those interested in the evolution of his unique comedic style.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Fine location shooting in Sainte-Sévère-sur-Indre
  • Numerous instances of masterfully choreographed physical humor

Must See?
No. Listed as a film with Historical Importance in the back of Peary’s book.


2 thoughts on “Jour de Fete (1949)

  1. A good first film with bags of charm and underlying wit. That said, it’s of less significance than Tati’s remaining films and remains slight and not must see for FFs. Very good film and recommended however for those interested.
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  2. First viewing. … Tiresome. Only for Tati fans… I guess.

    If Tati films are any indication, then no wonder the French have loved Jerry Lewis! This is the kind of movie that leans heavily on physical pranks (i.e., someone getting hurt). For example, Tati thinks it’s the height of wit if he gets hit in the face with a rake.

    ~ or if things become broken or actions are simply awkward. Or if he twirls around in a gangly manner because he’s tall and thin.

    … Yawn. Skip it (imo).

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