If the end of the world will look like this, I’m signing in.
Jonathan Rosenbaum - The Dance of Playtime
“The Royal Garden sequence, making up roughly half of the film, may be
the most formidable example of mise-en-scène in the history of cinema.
It is certainly the most Brueghel-like in its expansion of the
principle—found in such populated landscape paintings as Landscape with
the Fall of Icarus and The Procession to Cavalry—that life and history
unfold in a plethora of small, almost indiscernible details.”
‘The camera is backed away, at an amazing (and amazed) distance, from which it can contain what seems to be an entire city. It comes as a shock to discover that Tati actually built this city…We feel we are seeing Paris, or any metropolis. That is a tribute to extraordinary precision in the art direction, but it is also a proof of the tranquil, amiable gaze that Tati maintains. There is nothing like the inclination to see ugliness, or unkindness…Rather, Tati is charmed by the existence of things in space…Yes, this society is accident-prone and deserves to collapse or destroy itself, but its energy, its persistence, is beautiful and inspiring. It’s like watching cells grow and divide. What alarmed 1968, I suspect, was the authentic optimism of the film, its exhilaration, and the gentle growing fondness between, say, the dark girl in green and Tati himself, who wanders in and out of his own world, auteur and bystander. Truly a great film, the secret to the crowded frame.’