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Mon Oncle (My Uncle) is a 1958 film by Jacques Tati. This film stars Tati in his second appearance as Monsieur Hulot. (previously seen in 1953's Monsieur Hulot's Holiday) The film won the 1958 Oscar for best foreign language film and was also honored at Cannes.
The film generally focuses on quiet humorous events rather than outrageous slapstick. There is little dialog and scenes move slowly with a tendency to Leave the Camera Running.
The overall theme of the film is the contrast between the vibrant life of Monsieur Hulot in his old Paris neighborhood and the bland life of his sister and brother-in-law, Madame and Monsieur Arpel, in the modern suburb that they live and work in. The Arpel's son Gerard loves to travel to the older part of the city with his uncle, but his parents see Monsieur Hulot as a bad influence. The plot of the film is a loose collection of scenes showing Monsieur Hulot's life as his sister and her husband interfere, trying to make him more respectable by getting him a job at the plastic factory and attempting to marry him to their neighbor.
Includes the following tropes:
- Ascetic Aesthetic: the Villa Arpel and the plastics factory
- Cool Car: Tati wants us to find Monsieur Arpel's three-tone 1956 Chevy vulgar, but it's hard not to love it.
- Leave the Camera Running: a rare comedic example that is not played for an Overly Long Gag
- Limited Wardrobe: Monsieur Hulot's hat, extra long stemmed pipe, too-short pants, overcoat and umbrella.
- Malevolent Architecture: The Villa again, although it's a light comedic example of this trope.
- Mistaken for Special Guest: Inverted, the special guest is mistaken for a traveling rug saleswoman due to her carpet like caftan dress.
- Roadside Wave: A truck drives through a puddle, almost completely drenching a shopkeeper. However, the bottom of his pants are still dry... which changes when the main character, Hulot, rides by on his bicycle.
- Running Gag: Madame Arpel turning on/turning off the fish fountain when guests arrive
- Smart House: Monsieur and Madame Arpel's villa.
- Stepford Suburbia: lampooned via the Arpels and their neighbors.
- The Peeping Tom: Monsier Hulot is mistaken for this at his first job interview after a complicated series of events involving paint on his shoe.