Music and Sound in Jacques Tati Films
Jacques Tati, an actor and a film director,
developed a special kind of »silent« comic elements and the
author explains his principles for the use of sounds. In
the film Jour de Fête (1949) the composer Jean Yatove depicted
heroes’ adventures richly and laid the basis of Tati’s future
music speech by using the instrumentation considered typically
French (the accordion, the trumpet, the flute, the xylophone,
the strings and the street organ). But just like other Tati
films this one is full of noise and animal sounds, dialogues
are scarce, unimportant and often unclear; even music is
more intelligible than dialogues.
The author explains the
role of jazz in Tati films. For example, in Mr. Hulot’s
Holiday (Les vacances de M. Hulot, 1953) precisely this
form is the main means of expression, and dialogues are
almost completely deprived of sense and intelligibility.
Describing the development of the use of music and sounds
in Tati’s film opus, the author of this study emphasizes
that the film Playtime (1968) particularly clearly shows
how the »obsolete« poetics of silent film serves the purpose
of disclosing contemporary dehumanizing tendencies of the
modern technological civilization.