Mon Oncle is Jacques Tati's 1958 Academy Award-winning film about Mr. Hulot, an eccentric bachelor whose sister and brother-in-law, the Arpels, are always attempting to force him to live by their own bourgeois values. Monseiur Arpel tries to get Hulot to settle in to a job at his rubber tubing factory, and Madame Arpel invites Hulot to parties at their modern home in an attempt to set him with with one of her neighbors. The Arpels have a young son, Gerard, who prefers spending time with his wacky uncle to the sterility of his parents' home.
The film is a statement about consumerism and modernism, but it's also loads of fun. There's little dialogue--it's nearly silent--but the stylish sets and slapstick-y physical comedy make it a feast for the eyes. Oh, and bonus: lots of totally cute little dogs!
The Arpel home, which looks like it was made of giant Legos. (Click on my screengrabs to see the photos larger.)
Here is Hulot--so eccentrically stylish in his nerd pants, striped socks, and khaki raincoat--at the Arpel home.
The film showcases some fun women's fashion of the time. Madame Arpel is generally dressed in either a neutral day dress or in a hilarious lime green, apparently vinyl, housecoat. But neighbors and friends wear brighter colors and bold prints, and hats play a major role.
I love the shots of primary color here, livening up the Arpel's sterile white modern home. This cool yellow rocking chair plays a part in a funny scene.
The rather intimidating offices at Monsieur Arpel's factory.
I love this scene. The Arpels take their fancy modern chairs outside to watch the television (which is inside) al fresco.
At night, the bedroom windows function as eyes, with the Arpels as the pupils.
And here, in contrast to the ultra-modernism of the Arpel home is the charmingly ramshackle building where Hulot has his penthouse apartment.
I highly recommend this charming film if you haven't seen it before. It's currently available to Watch Instantly at Netflix.