The Big Day (Jour De Fete) (1952)
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
In Jacques Tati's charming -- and essentially plotless -- pre-Hulot first feature, Tati is Francois, a contented and happy postman in a small, unhurried French village. Francois is at ease with his job and leisurely performs his duties, peddling away on his rounds upon his beloved bicycle. Things perk up when a traveling carnival arrives in town. One of the attractions at the carnival is a film depicting the United States Postal Service's fast and efficient postal delivery system. The narrator in the film exhorts, "Rapidite, rapidite." Francois takes up the call, and attempts to Americanize his work style. Intriguingly, Tati originally shot this film in two simultaneous processes - a black-and-white one and an experimental color one called 'Thomson-Color' - but was forced to release the black-and-white when he ran into problems printing the color film; he subsequently tinted select sequences, then in the late 1990s his daughter (a film editor) prepared and released a color version of the entire movie. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi … More
Related News & Features
New on DVD & Blu-Ray: Deliver Us from Evil, Begin Again, and More
– Rotten Tomatoes
No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.Login
Critic Reviews for The Big Day (Jour De Fete)
a genial, ambling comedy that uses the figure of a klutzy postman named François (played by Tati himself) as the centerpoint for a series of comedic episodes involving a small French village preparing for a big festival
Jour De Fête sees Tati building out the world around François, finding humor in the leisurely pace of country living.
Tati's feature debut is a brilliant, smart, timeless comedy, which immediately established his reputation as major director and auteur.
The originality of its design makes Tati's cinema unfold as it were a series of Looney Tunes episodes envisioned by Robert Altman.
Tati's directorial debut is also one of his funniest. Like his other movies, it's best to keep your eyes wide open and look at tiny images in the corner of the screen. Tati isn't playing M. Hulot in this flick, but he'll still make alert viewers' sides ac
Audience Reviews for The Big Day (Jour De Fete)
This was a different kind of comedy, I'm not sure how to describe it, really. Problem was, it's not very funny. It was sort of quirky in a very old fashioned kind of way. It felt a lot older than it was even.More
Comedy legend Jacques Tati directs, co-writes and stars in this charming look at a guileless postman bicycling his rounds in a small French village. The film is near plotless, unless you count a late section where Tati's character Francois sees a newsreel about American postal efficiency and strains to accelerate his own work in reply. (This final act is wholly recycled from Tati's 1947 short "School for Postmen.")
The laughs depend on sight gags, lightly presented but carefully choreographed, and Francois doesn't speak much. When he does, he adopts a self-involved, thinking-out-loud mutter that barely calls for a response. Chickens, who cackle throughout the film with perverse consistency, arguably have more lines than any human. Francois's bike -- which frequently gets away from him -- accounts for a large chunk of the humor and the rest revolves around his interaction with the playful townsfolk, who alternately cheer on his diligence or try to throw him off course. (Learn to say no to alcohol, Francois!) The lack of story is somewhat wearying, but the film's brisk 79 minutes pass before this becomes a serious problem.
"Jour de Fete" was simultaneously shot in both color and black-and-white, and the latter version was the standard for years. However, a restored color edit was finally released in 1995. Given the subtlety of the film's visual humor, it's possible that some jokes are easier to pick up in color. So, don't worry about the ethics of "colorization."
Discuss The Big Day (Jour De Fete) on our Movie forum!