Originally shot in both black and white and colour, Jour de Fête was only released in its black and white version, with some occasional splashes of colour which were applied by hand directly to the frames. Audience goers at the time had to be satisfied with those few frames until the film’s colour version was restored in 1995 (now both versions are available on DVD/Blu Ray). Eye-popping colour, however, was always present in the film’s posters, as seen here.
Jour de Fête follows Tati’s postman who, upon watching a US newsreel showing the efficient transport methods of the Us postal service, attempts – with hilarious results – to modernise his bicycle delivery service. A somewhat less cynical accompaniment to Chaplin’s Modern Times perhaps, in which the innovations of modernity for increased productivity are thrust upon the worker from without – and certainly with considerably less wine consumed. However, the results – hilarious or otherwise – are not dissimilar and a critique of the mechanisation of industry and its effects on the individual can be seen here also in the ridiculous effects these processes have. As human becomes more like machine, as Tati’s postman attempts to deliver a greater volume in a shorter time, as the wheels of his bicycle spin faster and faster, we are on the road to comedy-gold disaster.
posted by Dixie