MON ONCLE – A Review

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Some movies have the tendency to impact the mind of the cinemagoers forever. The impact is so powerful that each and every scene of the movie remains etched in the memory. Irrespective of the time and space, one can still feel the sensation as felt while watching the film.  One of such movies is without any iota of doubt is the classic French film titled “Mon Oncle.” Directed by one of the greatest directors, Jacques Tati, this movie is a comical take on the consequences of growing industrialization and increased dependence on technology. It simultaneously draws attention of the viewers toward the difference between bourgeoisie and proletariat class. It’s a light-hearted visual comedy that leaves the feeling of pleasure and happiness at the end. The charm of the movie is in its unsophisticated portrayal of the daily life of the both classes. Under the brilliant direction of Tati, the easy-going characters and scenes seem extremely believable. It’s extremely endearing to see the way Tati, who also plays the role of the protagonist in the film, brings forth the key theme before the audience and leaves it upon the audience to draw the main lessons out of the entire film.

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As rightly stated by many reviewers, the entire effortlessly shot movie revolves around Tati’s character, Hulot, a simpleton living in a room on the roof. What struck a chord in my heart were the lovely people in the neighborhood of Hulot’s place who shared admirable camaraderie. The amusing life of blue collar workers, such as sweepers, vegetable vendors, etc., is like a treat for the eyes of the audience. Unlike other main characters, Hulot enjoys frolicking around in the city, both alone and with his nephew, Gerard. Despite being unemployed and confused, a matter of grave concern for his sister and her husband, he continues to be care-free and entertaining, least bothered by the rejection for his antics at the new job. The main attraction of the entire film is the antics and prances of Hulot that leave the audience in a fit of laughter. The coming together of the characters obsessed with home-based technology and a simpleton like Hulot leads to a series of amusing mishaps. The cons of leading a life controlled by technology have also been shown in an interesting manner. Some of the amusing cons include the locking up of Hulot’s sister and her husband in their highly technical garage, their inability to conduct a normal conversation due to the constant irritating noise of the machines running in the kitchen, etc. The funniest part of the film is the way fountain is switched on as an exhibit based on the status of the visitor. This shows how technology is used by the bourgeoisie to compete with each other, unlike the proletariats living in the neighborhood of Hulot.

One of the most fascinating parts of the film is the sweet bond between Hulot and Gerard. Unlike his parents, Gerards looks up to Hulot and is always ready to frolic around with him. While he is a fun-loving boy enjoying company of other boys playing innocent pranks on others and eating street food, he looks totally exhausted and bored in his spacious technologically controlled home. He is bored of talking to the guests from his neighborhood due to their superficial mannerisms and foolish conversations. These scenes give an insight into the materialistic and consumerist lifestyle of the bourgeoisie class. Though made as early as 1958, it a movie that stands as relevant as ever. In this age of addiction to mobile phones, movies like Mon Oncle are quite essential.