Once Upon a Time… My Oncle

Un film de Camille Clavel

Once upon a time in 1958, Jacques Tati’s third film, Mon Oncle appears, which he summarizes as follows:

“A couple, the Arpels, represent social success, the kind that shiny magazines might recommend. He is a serious businessman, she is the perfect homemaker. Everything is brand-new in their home, the house, the geometrical garden, the gravel. In this functional universe, there is a lack of taste for life and uncertain outcomes, the freedom of letting-go, of playing hookey. This is the spirit that the young son of the family will discover with his uncle, Monsieur Hulot, the ‘black sheep of the family’.


He is a happy man; he lives in the small neighborhood of Saint Maur where everyone knows each other, where people help each other get by, by respecting a very simple code: kindness. The arrival of Monsieur Hulot in the villa Arpel will provoke catastrophes. Only the little boy will take the hand of his uncle, his accomplice, and his friend.”


Film director : Camille Clavel
Authors : Serge July, Marie Genin, Camille Clavel
Camera Nicolas Duchene, Caroline Champetier, Simon Lepeutrec
Sound Thierry Blandin, Alexandre Hernandez
Film Editor Gwen Mallauran
Runtime : 52 minutes
Aspect ratio : 16/9
Languages : French, English
Broadcasters : France5, TCM, TSR


with :
Pierre Etaix cinéaste, collaborateur artistique de Jacques Tati
Jean-Claude Carrière author, scriptwriter
Jérôme Deschamps director
Macha Makeieff director, scenographer
Colette De Glasier actress in Playtime
 Jean Nouvel architect
Philippe Starck art director


Jacques Tati
David Lynch

Jacques Tati films ‘My Uncle’ in 1958.  Portrait of a film: Monsieur Hulot, the ‘holdover from a France gone by’, travels between the old world and the new world where his sister and her husband, manager at a modern factory live. He teaches his young nephew the taste of freedom.  The film received awards at Cannes and Hollywood.  Portrait of an era: The film is presented at Cannes at the same time that the Pieds Noirs and the French army rise up so that Algeria may remain French. De Gaulle returns to power. A film made at the veritable frontier between the Fourth and Fifth French Republics, at the border between a post-war rural society and the new industrial society in full expansion, between the old neighbourhoods destined for demolition and the modern planned cities. It is the euphoria of the birth of consumer society and the leisure class.  Portrait of a director: this most autobiographical of Jacques Tati’s films evokes his childhood and his family life.  Monsieur Hulot is almost a silent film:  Jacques Tati prefers gestures and noise to words, which, similar to his contemporary Beckett, are reduced to a succession of incomprehensible vowel sounds.