M. Hulot wanders in and out of the film like the host at a party who goes missing when the fun is at its best. Tati explained that Hulot is not the hero of Playtime. The main character, he insisted, is the décor, “and the heroes are the people who break it up.” Whimsically, he recalled that for Playtime the producers offered him a big budget for décor or Sophia Loren. He chose the décor because he disliked star names.
Tati told Penelope Gilliatt that he likes his films to be about everybody but also about nobody big. In Playtime we see ourselves as Tati sees us, without mockery or condescension. He breaks the plastic chains that bind us.
Jacques Tati's Playtime screens on Saturday and Sunday, October 9th & 10th, at 15.35.