Parade (4 stars)


(U) 84min
(BFI DVD retail)
Released in 1974, the final film by the great French silent comedian Jacques Tati is a typically playful, though also extremely eloquent ending to his quarter-century film career. On the face of it nothing more than a series of circus acts compered by Tati and performed by a troupe of clowns in front of a family audience, Parade recalls the ending of the filmmaker’s first feature, 1949’s Jour de fête (which closes with a circus leaving town), and harks back further still to the beginning of Tati’s professional career, as a mime artist in music halls in the 1930s. Looking closer, however, we find Tati blurring the lines between performer and audience, stage and backstage and beginning and ending. It’s consistently amusing, occasionally hilarious and underscored with pathos, that last unsurprising perhaps seeing as this was the final curtain call of the hexagenarian who died less than eight years later. Extras: previously unseen interview with Tati, booklet of essays.

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