While attending a big party in his small village, François the postman (Jacques Tati) sees a film at the local movie house about American postal workers and decides to become more efficient. Before there was Monsieur Hulot, there was François the postman. The first half of director Tati’s first feature film shows us the feast and all the details surrounding it, the other half has François turning his efficiency drive into charming slapstick. The film is a classic, and one of Tati’s strengths is his attention to detail in the colorful portrayal of the countryside in postwar France, but there are no big laughs.
1949-France. 70 min. Color. Produced by Fred Orain, André Paulvé. Directed by Jacques Tati. Screenplay: Jacques Tati, Henri Marquet, René Wheeler. Cast: Jacques Tati (François), Guy Decomble (Roger), Paul Frankeur (Marcel), Santa Relli, Maine Vallee, Roger Rafal.
Trivia: Also known in the U.S. as The Big Day. The film was shown in black-and-white for many years until it was restored in color in 1997 by among others Tati’s daughter, Sophie Tatischeff.