French film actor and director. Despite making only five feature films in over twenty years, he became one of the world's leading film comedy actors.
Tati, who was born in Le Pecq, became a professional entertainer after a short period as a professional Rugby footballer, when he often performed at rugger suppers. As a professional he made his name in the 1930s with his music-hall act doing comic mimes of leading sportsmen. Some of these were later made into film shorts. His first feature-length film was Jour de fête (1949), in which he played a village postman endeavouring to apply new high-speed postal methods with disastrously funny results. Co-scripted by Tati with Henri Marquet, it won the best script award at the Venice Film Festival. The film was basically an extended version of a number of shorts Tati had already done, including L'École des facteurs (1947). As the innocent and endearing Monsieur Hulot, in sharp contrast to the absurdities of the modern world, he won international acclaim in Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953; Mr Hulot's Holiday), Mon Oncle (1958), Playtime (1968), and Traffic (1971).
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Literature.