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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • French PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • "Jacques Tati in Monsieur Hulot's Work," a 1976 episode of the British television program Omnibus featuring an interview with Tati about his Hulot films
  • Trailer

Trafic

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Jacques Tati
1971 | 97 Minutes | Licensor: Les Films de Mon Oncle

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $124.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #439
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: October 28, 2014
Review Date: November 6, 2014

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SYNOPSIS

In Jacques Tati's Trafic, the bumbling Monsieur Hulot, kitted out as always with tan raincoat, beaten brown hat, and umbrella, takes to Paris's highways and byways. In this, his final outing, Hulot is employed as an auto company's director of design, and accompanies his new product (a "camping car" outfitted with absurd gadgetry) to an auto show in Amsterdam. Naturally, the road there is paved with modern-age mishaps. This late-career delight is a masterful demonstration of the comic genius's expert timing and sidesplitting knack for visual gags, and a bemused last look at technology run amok.

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Trafic, the fifth film in Criterionís box set The Complete Jacques Tati, returns to the collection, now presented on Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of about 1.37:1 on a dual-layer disc. The film has also been given a new high-definition transfer delivered in 1080p/24hz.

Though Iíve been fairly happy with Criterionís previous out-of-print DVD edition I certainly welcome this new presentation. The biggest upgrade is, of course, the lack of the window-boxing that was present on the old DVD, annoyingly compressing the image down further (black pillar bars remain on either side of the image, of course, preserving the filmís aspect ratio). Also different are the colours, which donít look as cold as they did on the old DVD, and in all honesty I have to admit I prefer this look. Saturation is nice, with some rich blues and yellows, and black levels are fairly inky and rich. The level of detail is extraordinary, even in the long shots that make up a good chunk of the film. The transfer also delivers rich textures and a wonderful sense of depth. Everything is clean and well defined, and motion is smooth and natural.

The image renders grain superbly and it always looks natural. The transfer is also free of other artifacts, helping it retain a filmic quality. There were a few minor blemishes scattered about and a couple of fluctuations but the print looks basically spotless. Itís an impressive looking transfer and a wonderful upgrade over the already pleasing DVD edition.

9/10

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AUDIO

Trafic comes with a simple lossless PCM mono track. The film is probably a little more dialogue driven in comparison to the other Hulot films, though the dialogue, for the most part, could probably be tossed aside. A couple of English speaking characters can drone off or be drowned out as they talk but most of the dialogue is clear and easy to make out. Dialogue in other languages can suffer the same fate, but in all itís part of the filmís sound design. Sound effects and what music there is also come through clear and there is a little bit of fidelity and range behind everything. In all itís a nice, simple, and clean track that accurately presents the filmís unique sound design.

7/10

SUPPLEMENTS

In terms of supplements Trafic is easily the most disappointing disc in the entire box set, and itís even more disappointing because itís the one title that doesnít carry over all of the supplements from the previous DVD edition Criterion released.

The only real supplement to be found on here is ĒJacques Tati in M. Hulotís WorkĒ, a 49-minute BBC piece from 1976, which was originally included as a feature on Criterionís PlayTime Blu-ray and 2-disc DVD. Itís a good piece featuring an interview with Tati that was taken at the Hotel de la Plage where M. Hulotís Holiday was filmed. The first bit of it focuses on comparing the hotel between the time period depicted in the film and as it is/was in 1976 (and today I believe itís still there but is now a Best Western) with the interview actually beginning 10-minutes or so in. Itís a rather charming interview, with Tati (more or less) dawning the Hulot character in sequences. In English he talks about his work, the character of Hulot, the art of comedy, PlayTime and modern France and its architecture (thereís a wonderful little moment where he points to a maquette of Hulotís home from Mon oncle and talks about how this older style of architecture has such life.) Itís a great interview piece and Tati makes a wonderful subject.

The disc then concludes with the filmís theatrical trailer.

Criterionís original DVD of Trafic included the lengthy documentary In the Footsteps of Mr. Hulot, which is missing here, though does appear as a feature on Paradeís disc in the set. What didnít make it over in any shape or form, though, are two interviews featuring the director talking about Trafic. This seems especially odd because there are no other features that jump out at me in this set as being specifically about Trafic (though as of this writing I still havenít made it through all of the features in the set, and am still making my way through Parade and the Tati shorts) while the other films seem to get their own share of material specific to their respective films. In total the interviews ran just a little over 20-minutes so I canít think of why they wouldnít have been included since there was definitely more than enough room on here.

After going through the wonderful supplements on the four previous titles in the set Trafic seems especially disappointing.

4/10

CLOSING

The transfer looks good, one of the stronger ones in the set, only second to PlayTimeís excellent new transfer. Unfortunately it only has one supplement, a 49-minute one, that has little to nothing to do with Trafic specifically, making it feel like this film is being unfairly slighted.


View packaging for this Blu-ray

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