Tati's first major feature, Jour de fête (The Big Day) *****, tells the story of an inept rural village postman who interrupts his duties to inspect the traveling fair that has come to town. Influenced by too much wine and a documentary on the rapidity of the American postal service, he goes to hilarious lengths to speed his mail deliveries aboard his bicycle. Unlike his later films, it has many scenes with dialogue and offers a droll, affectionate view of life in rural France. The color version was restored by his daughter, Sophia Tatischeff, and released in 1995. The film won a prize at the Venice Film Festival.
Mon Oncle ***** 1958, was his first film to be released in colour and perhaps his best-known work. The plot centers on M. Hulot's comedic, quixotic and childlike struggle with postwar France's mindless obsession with modernity and American-style consumerism. Mon Oncle quickly became an international success, and won that year's Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (Oscar), a Special Prize at Cannes, as well as the prestigious New York Film Critics Award.
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