439 Trafic

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Jeff
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439 Trafic

#1 Post by Jeff » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:59 pm

Trafic

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In Jacques Tati’s Trafic, the bumbling Monsieur Hulot, outfitted as always with tan raincoat, beaten brown hat, and umbrella, takes to Paris’s highways and byways. For this, his final outing, Hulot is employed as an auto company’s director of design, and accompanies his new vehicle (a camper tricked out in all sorts of absurd gadgetry) to an auto show in Amsterdam. Naturally, the road is paved with modern-age mishaps. This late-career delight is a masterful demonstration of the comic genius’s expert timing and sidesplitting visual gags, and a bemused last look at technology run amok.

SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES

• New, restored high-definition digital transfer
In the Footsteps of Monsieur Hulot (1969), a two-hour documentary tracing the evolution of Jacques Tati’s beloved alter ego
• Interview from 1971 with the cast of Trafic, from the French television program Le journal de cinema
• “The Comedy of Jacques Tati,” a 1973 episode from the French television program Morceaux de bravoure
• Theatrical trailer
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A new essay by film critic Jonathan Romney

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Svevan
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#2 Post by Svevan » Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:05 pm

boxset forthcoming at the end of the year (intelligent guess)

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Cronenfly
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#3 Post by Cronenfly » Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:34 pm

Svevan wrote:boxset forthcoming at the end of the year (intelligent guess)

Still leaves Jour de Fete and Parade in the lurch...

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Svevan
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#4 Post by Svevan » Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:56 am

Cronenfly wrote:
Svevan wrote:boxset forthcoming at the end of the year (intelligent guess)

Still leaves Jour de Fete and Parade in the lurch...
Jour de Fete and Parade don't star Monsieur Hulot; though Criterion has stated plans to release Jour de Fete, the question now remains not if we will get a box set, but whether it will be a Monsieur Hulot box or a Jacques Tati box.

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Morbii
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#5 Post by Morbii » Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:33 am

About f'n time. Just bring on Jour de Fete and Parade soon :D

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#6 Post by CSM126 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:20 am

Funny, I figured Parade would be a supplement on Trafic. I can't fathom it getting a standalone release and there aren't enough Tati films left besides it to make an eclipse set, are there? Huh.

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#7 Post by Cronenfly » Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:06 pm

Svevan wrote:
Cronenfly wrote:
Svevan wrote:boxset forthcoming at the end of the year (intelligent guess)

Still leaves Jour de Fete and Parade in the lurch...
Jour de Fete and Parade don't star Monsieur Hulot; though Criterion has stated plans to release Jour de Fete, the question now remains not if we will get a box set, but whether it will be a Monsieur Hulot box or a Jacques Tati box.
I think it'll be a Hulot set at the end of the year. I was under the impression that Jour de Fete in particular would've been out sooner (it seems like one of those titles under perpetual delay, though, so who knows); I can't imagine Criterion squeezing it, Parade, Trafic, and a Hulot boxset into this year. I can't see Criterion releasing any more Tati (beyond Trafic and the Hulot boxset) until sometime later in 2009 or beyond (though I wouldn't mind being proven wrong).

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Magic Hate Ball
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#8 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:28 pm

I think, out of all the Hulot films, this is the worst. I once read an interesting idea that, as Tati progressed, the Hulot films became more and more pessimistic. This is, for the most part, true; Holday is wonderfully delightful. Nobody is really hurt, for the most part; any pratfalls are merely comical. Mon Oncle is slightly darker; modern inconvinences begin to emerge, and the same ideas blossom into the massive wonder that is Playtime, a perfect balance of cynicism and hope (as illustrated by the final sequence), and, in my opinion, Tati's best. He followed, financially ruined, with the bitter Trafic, which is awash in hostility. It's bizarre.

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#9 Post by jaredsap » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:40 pm

Magic Hate Ball wrote:He followed, financially ruined, with the bitter Trafic, which is awash in hostility.
Can't wait. Given the subject matter, no other washing would be more appropriate.

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#10 Post by Kinsayder » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:22 pm

Magic Hate Ball wrote:Trafic, which is awash in hostility.
Really? I never noticed that. Even the car crash scene, where we might expect Tati to be most bitter, is sublimated into a kind of surreal ballet. Tati was involved in several car crashes in real life, including one in 1955 in which he broke an arm and a leg and which forced him to abandon the more acrobatic side of his physical humour.

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#11 Post by SheriffAmbrose » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:52 pm

Yeah, I don't know if I agree that this is the most cynical of his films, but it is a photo finish between this and Playtime. We discussed this film before in the Trafic thread in old films and I think I said there that, while flawed in ways, I prefer it to Holiday and maybe even Oncle.

I think I also said in the other thread that the dubbing on the VHS that I had watched, especially that of the Maria character, was annoying as could be, but I have since found out that much of the film, and definitely Maria's dialogue, was originally in English, I guess a continuation of the multilingual motif introduced in Playtime. I am interested to see the criterion listing of the film's language as being in French. Playtime is listed that way as well so I suppose that I have no point here. Can't wait for the release though!

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#12 Post by Via_Chicago » Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:34 am

He followed, financially ruined, with the bitter Trafic, which is awash in hostility.
"Awash in hostility"? Did we even see the same movie?
I think I also said in the other thread that the dubbing on the VHS that I had watched, especially that of the Maria character, was annoying as could be, but I have since found out that much of the film, and definitely Maria's dialogue, was originally in English, I guess a continuation of the multilingual motif introduced in Playtime. I am interested to see the criterion listing of the film's language as being in French. Playtime is listed that way as well so I suppose that I have no point here. Can't wait for the release though!
Yeah, there's hardly any French in this film. (And the print I saw was straight from France!). It's mostly in English with the occasional French and Dutch.

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#13 Post by atcolomb » Fri Apr 18, 2008 8:34 am

I noticed that Trafic will be released in a full frame format but on my VHS tape it has a slight leterboxed image to it. I guess the full frame was the original aspect ratio release? Very happy Criterion is releasing this since this is one of my favorite Tati films even if Tati had a limited budget to work on. I would recommend the the book Jacques Tati by David Bellos which goes into details on the making of the film.

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#14 Post by SheriffAmbrose » Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:21 pm

atcolomb wrote:I would recommend the the book Jacques Tati by David Bellos which goes into details on the making of the film.
That book is great. There is also a good one that is out of print by Brent Maddock that is worth checking out.

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#15 Post by denti alligator » Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:27 pm


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#16 Post by HerrSchreck » Sat Jul 05, 2008 2:21 pm

Beev.

I absolutely love the vintage greenish/yellow warmth to the CC vs the Atlantic's icy "restored" hue.

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#17 Post by Gregory » Sat Jul 05, 2008 6:13 pm

Hmm, I don't claim to know what's correct but I think the Criterion looks pretty strange. In the cap that shows Hulot sitting in the car with the cop leaning over: I assume that's supposed to be a plain white dashboard, but in the Criterion transfer it looks markedly off-white, almost sickly. Same with the poster on the wall in the background.
The difference is even more extreme in the final cap. The Atlantic appears to be a normal shot of a car lot, while the Criterion looks like sort of like the scene is happening underwater. The "white" cars are nowhere near white; they're bluish-green.

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#18 Post by Kinsayder » Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:14 pm

Aside from the cropping, the Atlantic holds up surprisingly well against the Criterion. And I think I prefer (slightly) the Atlantic's colours: the Altra lorry (seen in the crash screenshot) is, I'm sure, meant to be an emphatic warm yellow and blue, rather than the Criterion's muted version. The Criterion's extras do look very appealing, though.

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#19 Post by SheriffAmbrose » Sat Jul 05, 2008 10:28 pm

I am going to have to wait to see the criterion for myself but I am not too thrilled with the colors either. I can sort of see how the "vintage...warmth" can be appealing but I want the film to look fresh and the colors to pop. Whatever tough, I just want the film and I am sure that I can live with the presentation. I would pay double the price for the extras alone. I dig the first disc menus and I happy to see that we get to spend more time with that odd-looking Omnibus presenter (not to mention Tati's collection of turtlenecks and gigantic hands).

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#20 Post by mogwai » Sun Jul 06, 2008 2:38 am

I think the Criterion looks the best, but what strikes me the most is all the fine details present in the Criterion that the Atlantic release lacks. The capture with the cop and Hulot is the most damning -- they look almost waxy compared to the Criterion. But I absolutely love the colors on the Criterion anyway, though I certainly don't know if they're accurate.

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#21 Post by Gregory » Sun Jul 06, 2008 4:24 pm

Even for those of us who haven't seen this film theatrically, isn't it safe to assume that there should be some plain white visible somewhere, unless there is evidence that Tati or the film's cinematographers intentionally gave it this unusual tint?

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#22 Post by Faux Hulot » Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:19 am

Gregory wrote:Even for those of us who haven't seen this film theatrically, isn't it safe to assume that there should be some plain white visible somewhere, unless there is evidence that Tati or the film's cinematographers intentionally gave it this unusual tint?
Exactly. I find it impossible to believe that Tati, whose use of color was always very deliberate, chose a color scheme that makes every scene look as though it was rephotographed through an uncleaned aquarium. This sickly green tint isn't "warmth," it's plainly an improperly color-corrected transfer (especially seen side-by-side with the Atlantic disc). Just compare the colors in the properly restored Playtime with what was previously issued to see how Tati has been poorly served in a similar manner in the past:

Incorrect:
Image

Correct:
Image

(courtesy DVDBeaver, of course)

This is very disappointing, especially considering how much effort apparently went into producing this long-overdue, two-disc set. How could Criterion let this happen?

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#23 Post by zedz » Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:00 pm

I don't want to leap into this discussion, but just responding to those Playtime caps: the Criterion does indeed look tinted, but the alternative looks nothing like I remember the film. That latter one looks much more artificially manipulated to me. Look at the pillars and wall on either side: in the Criterion they're three different shades, based on their material and the way the light's hitting them; on the other one, they're all bleached into a near-identical icy blue.

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#24 Post by kaujot » Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:35 pm

Faux Hulot wrote:(courtesy DVDBeaver, of course)
Don't hotlink the Beaver's images.

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#25 Post by cdnchris » Fri Jul 11, 2008 3:26 am

Trafic

I avoided Beaver's review until I was done with mine, but looking at it now, in all honesty, I think for colour the Atlantic looks better, judging from those screen caps at least. Overall the Criterion looks good (it's quite sharp and the print is in very good shape,) but the colours looked a little off.

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