In the San Francisco Art Institute’s ongoing fall exhibition, Temporary Structures, director Jacques Tati's 1967 film Playtime serves as a tone-setting device, an ephemeral world that exists forever in cinematic space. Join SFAI for this screening of Tati's choreographed critique on modernism. More on Temporary Structures at: www.sfai.edu/tempstructures
About the Film
The centerpiece sequence of Jacques Tati’s nearly dialogue-free opus, Playtime, is an opening night collapse of a chic eatery. The glue holding together civility and modernist architecture doesn’t quite maintain its grip: floor tiles adhere to waiters’ shoes, glass doors perfectly shatter, and the dance floor grows increasingly ebullient the more the fixtures fall. The sleekly composed film ostensibly follows a gaggle of American tourists, as well as Tati’s flustered oaf character, through a soulless international version of Paris in which cement and glass edifices are strange conflations of airport, hospital, office complex, and subdivided convention center. Tati’s choreographed critique of modernism is all the more poignant for the fact that he built a nearly functional city to serve as the set for his 70mm film, a folly that nearly ruined his career. In Temporary Structures, Playtime serves as a tone-setting device, an ephemeral world that exists forever in cinematic space.