(aka "Traffic" or "Monsieur Hulot nel caos del traffico (Italy)" or "Trafic - Tati im Stoßverkehr (germany)")

directed by Jacques Tati
France 1971

 

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

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 16th, 1971

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison: 

Atlantic Film (Jacques Tati Collection) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow Atlantic Film Captures!

(Atlantic Film (Jacques Tati Collection) - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

Atlantic Film

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 439

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:32:04 (4% PAL speedup) 1:37:03
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.50 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.42 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Atlantic Film

Bitrate

Criterion

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital French Mono Dolby Digital French
Subtitles Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Atlantic Film

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Soigne ton gauche (1936 / 11:54)
• L'École des facteurs (1947 / 14:26)
• Cours du soir (1967 / 26:31)
• Jacques Tati biography (text)

DVD Release Date: May 23, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Picturboxed - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• In the Footsteps of Monsieur Hulot (1989), a two-hour documentary tracing the evolution of Jacques Tati's beloved alter ego
• Interview from 1971 with the cast of Trafic, from the French television program Le journal de cinéma (7:19)
• "The Comedy of Jacques Tati," a 1973 episode from the French television program Morceaux de bravoure (14:27)
• Theatrical trailer (2:46)
• 16-page liner notes booklet with new essay by film critic Jonathan Romney

DVD Release Date: July 15th, 2008
Transparent
Keep Case

Chapters 216

 

Comments NOTE: Criterion's Complete Jacques Tati Blu-ray Collection is compared/reviewed HERE!

ADDITION: Criterion 2-disc - July 08': The Criterion transfer is again pictureboxed (see our description of 'pictureboxing' in our Kind Hearts and Coronets review) with a large black border circumventing the frame to counter the overscan of production made television sets.

After that it is most obvious that the single-layered Atlantic PAL edition is significantly cropped - mostly on the bottom and right edges of the frame. Colors show some striking differences as well but I wouldn't care to guess which release is most faithful to theatrical - although overall the Criterion is sharper, smoother, cleaner and looks to be from a superior print. I do see some black boosting in the Criterion resulting in minor edge enhancements and the Criterion appears to be slightly greenish/grey. In most scenes the 2-disc edition is brighter and just plain looks better - supported by a much higher bitrate.

The NTSC edition offers French mono audio and optional English subtitles (while the Scandinavian edition does not).

As expected with Criterion (and a 2-disc effort) there are some excellent and viable supplements. First off - still on disc one is "The Comedy of Jacques Tati" - a 1973 episode from the French television program Morceaux de bravoure. It runs about 15 minutes and is hosted by Andre Halimi featuring an interview with Tati. It was directed by Jean-Paul Sassy and originally aired on January 15th, 1973. It, like the other featurette supplements, is not in the best condition. Still on disc one is an interview from 1971 with the cast of Trafic, from the French television program Le journal de cinéma. They talk to Anne Andreu for about 7 minutes relating their experiences making the film. Disc one also offers a 2:46 theatrical trailer.

On the second DVD (also dual-layered) is a wonderfully thorough, but interlaced, two-hour, 2-part, documentary tracing the evolution of Jacques Tati's beloved alter ego. It was made in 1989 and is entitled In the Footsteps of Monsieur Hulot. Lastly, we have a 16-page liner notes booklet with new essay by film critic Jonathan Romney.

The transfer is imperfect and this is far from my favorite Tati film but I really appreciated the supplementary material - especially the documentary on the accompanying disc. I believe it's the only game in town for this film in an English-friendly edition and for those reasons we surely recommend. Tati fans should consider purchasing this an easy decision.

Gary Tooze   

***

ON THE ATLANTIC EDITION: The same transfer as the Finnish Future DVD (see Playtime and Jour de Fete reviews), being a single layered DVD, it is a bit limited and displays some edge enhancements, color banding and macro blocking, but even so, the transfer isn't all that bad. Details are sharp and colors are very true to what I recall of it in the theatres.

The extra material, as on all the five DVDs in the collection, consists of three Tati shortfilms: "Soigne ton gauche" from 1936, "L'École des facteurs" from 1947 and "Cours du soir" from 1967. The quality of these shorts is surprisingly good, especially "Soigne ton gauche" surprised me, being the oldest, but looks the best - great contrast and sharp details.

 - Henrik Sylow

 

 



DVD Menus

 

(Atlantic Film (Jacques Tati Collection) - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)
 

 

 

 

Criterion - Disc 2

 

 


Subtitle Sample (Criterion)

 


 

Screen Captures

 

(Atlantic Film (Jacques Tati Collection) - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Atlantic Film (Jacques Tati Collection) - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(Atlantic Film (Jacques Tati Collection) - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Atlantic Film (Jacques Tati Collection) - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Atlantic Film (Jacques Tati Collection) - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

(Atlantic Film (Jacques Tati Collection) - Region 2 - PAL TOP vs. Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Criterion

Sound:

-

Extras: Criterion
Menu: Criterion


 
DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution

Atlantic Film

Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 439

Region 1 - NTSC




 

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