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Studs Terkel discusses the film "Mon Oncle"with creator Jacques Tati

BROADCAST: Dec. 12, 1958 | DURATION: 00:44:06

Synopsis

Studs Terkel reintroduces this 1958 broadcast with Jacques Tati in a 1992 rebroadcast. At 39:06, Terkel includes a musical epilogue to the conversation with Jacques Tati with French children's songs such as "Cadet Rousselle". Tati discusses his films "Mr. Hulot's Holiday" and" Mon Oncle" and his emphasis as writer, director, actor, and producer to maintain a naturalness. He doesn't want lights, cameras or action to influence the actors. Naturalness will respect independence and keeping it simple and real will create pride and invite people in. Tati respects the United States and their ability to maintain a sense of humor and laugh at themselves through films such as "Mr Smith Goes to Washington" and "You Can't Take it With You". He wishes to convey humor and independence in his films. Pictures should not be made like cars.

Transcript

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Studs Terkel This evening's program is a rebroadcast of one first heard in 1958, thirty-four years ago over this station when Jacques Tati the French filmmaker, the actor, director, writer, producer of his films came to town with his second internationally known movie. The first of course was "Mr. Hulot's Holiday," which was a smash, [course?] a new interpretation of vacations and the human comedy. But the one [we're?] under discussion you hear in a moment was the second film, "Mon Oncle," dealing with the way things change in technology and once upon a time and has the air, the wondrousness of the child's imagination is there. [Unintelligible] remember that this was 34 years ago in 1958. [1958 recording begins] Were seated in the suite of a rather chichi hotel on Chicago's near north side and across the microphone in the room is the distinguished French actor, director, producer, writer, Jacques Tati. I guess most Americans think of Mr. Tati they think of his creation, a Mr. Hulot. Of course "Mr. Hulot's Holiday," the comical hero yet the wistful hero. Mr. Tati is in Chicago right now in advance of his new film. "My Uncle." So Monsieur Tati, Monsieur

Jacques Tati You pronounce it well because most of the time that people say, How you pronounce your name Mister Tee-tie, or Too-tah, Tati? I don't know was it very difficult for the American to pronounce Tati?

Studs Terkel Shouldn't be. T-A-T-I. Tati.

Jacques Tati And the, well anytime I'm on the phone, [they all?] say, What's your name? Tati. What do you say? I said Tati. How you pronounce it? T-A-T-I. I mean it looks very difficult, no?

Studs Terkel One of the questions I'm sure that comes up is your technique or your approach in "Mr. Hulot's Holiday." It seemed as though some of the actors, many were professionals, were not acting as though they were caught.

Jacques Tati Well yes because what I'm [don't?] thing that I'm always say I have done that or I am going to do that, I most of the time think and I try what I have try in the picture is to make the the actors [unintelligible] the people that I have in my picture as most natural as they are when you watch them from this window or gathering them in the street. From there on, if you come with me in the window and you watch the people in the street and you see how simple the people talk to each other all in a very simple with one man ask if [his road?] and the other one will answer him. That can't be done if you are in a set and the people start to, the director out of say, Lights, camera. So the actors start to hear "Lights, camera" that's supposed to be very important and then after is "action." So at action the men start to say [unintelligible], say, Well I was caught. No please I want you to say more, [changes inflection] Well. So start again. Number two. "Camera, lights, action" and start. [changes inflection] Well-- No, I'm sorry [laughter]. No, I would like a nice [changes inflection] "Well," you see. So what I'm trying to do, it's just to that the people don't feel that they are making your picture. Don't feel that they are shooting, I'm shooting a picture, and put themselves in a situation that they are natural. Sometimes when I find that in the rehearsal the man is coming exactly when I want, I have a little sign with the cameraman and the camera start and he doesn't know he--

Studs Terkel Oh, this is between you and the camera.

Jacques Tati Yeah.

Studs Terkel But the actor doesn't know he's being photographed?

Jacques Tati No.

Studs Terkel Ah, so you caught many of them unaware--

Jacques Tati Yes.

Studs Terkel During rehearsals?

Jacques Tati Yes, yes. You see you you will understand that Studs, sometimes when the amateurs make photo they come out with their own little camera and they took shots, you find these people sometimes are natural. And even so funny because I don't know if that happened to you when you come [a friend?] say, Oh I took a picture from our holidays in Paris and you see so funny faces coming and looking at how [French?] tried to get a bus, and if they knew that it was a camera, they would not be as natural as they are in those little amateur. So the people called me most of the time that I am an amateur--

Studs Terkel Amateur in the wonderful sense!

Jacques Tati Well well a lot of people [has been?] as amateurs, yes? And pictures? And painting?

Studs Terkel Because I think one of what the attractions of this film to so many, to everybody who saw it, is that was like a mirror. People in a way were seeing themselves the little frailties on this French resort.

Jacques Tati Yes, yes.

Studs Terkel That you caught.

Jacques Tati Yes that is my [goal?] [unintelligible], when you see the people you say, I know that man I don't know where I've seen him but I know he's got a manufacture , I know he's important, I know he wants to make a lot of money. And I also know the little [dogs?] in the street who don't care if it's a red light or a green light or if it's policemen. And they just only go in the streets and they have [their time?]. I mean it's why when they say about the construction, people say, Is your picture has a story construction? For myself they have. But I let the people more observe with me. It's a little invitation to say, Come with me behind the camera. We're going to watch the people. You may find friends you may also find people that you know people that you like or people that you dislike. And anyway I don't want you to prove so much. I want you to--Your imagination starts to make their own construction and [words? work?], and I say that the picture don't, is not my picture, the picture start to belong to you, it start to be your

Studs Terkel If I interpret you correctly, you're saying now it's the audience itself. You suggest you don't draw a diagram black and white, a two plus two is four. You make a suggestion and that thing finishes. And then the audience itself--

Jacques Tati Yes.

Studs Terkel Reacts.

Jacques Tati Yes. That's what I try. You have you had in painting. [Unintelligible] the

Studs Terkel Mmmhmm.

Jacques Tati They did suggest but you could stay quarter of an hour or 20 minutes in front of wonderful Impressionist painting and then you start to find that it's a [rare?] river--

Studs Terkel Like a little point. There are so many points in "Hulot," we'll come to "My Uncle" in a moment. In "Hulot," the points of, you make a point the waiter when a fat guest comes, his slice of beef he cuts is that for the skinny man before him.

Jacques Tati Yes, yes, I don't say, I could say in another way with a very good expression of a very proficient comedian, Oh now come a fat man, I'm going to give him a bigger piece of meat. I just have let the public cut the meat. I mean I didn't, you can't even see much. The man who cut the meat, you, it's the public who [start to?] cut it, that man is fat I'm obliged to give him a [big one?] [laughter], and that one is so thin that with that little piece there will be enough , I mean, that's why I'm trying. I I do hope that the people don't come and see my picture and say, Oh now we're going to see-- No. They come and it's a n invitation. So when you are, have an invitation maybe you enjoyed the party and you stay or you don't enjoyed it and you leave. And I'd rather get the people who, [and I?] [so few?] did leave the cinema and say, Well it's not my cup of tea.

Studs Terkel Or they're not accustomed to giving. Do you, perhaps you're inferring this too or am I assuming that the audience today what with new techniques, television, new kinds of advances, we receive. We're getting humor in the house.

Jacques Tati Yes.

Studs Terkel Everything is being fed to us by the spoon.

Jacques Tati Yeah.

Studs Terkel And you're asking people to contribute something themselves.

Jacques Tati Yes, yes. Because otherwise, I'm not against you see when the people say you're against the modern equipment, against the modern architecture. I'm not against but even like you say about the television you must, you can't make a choice. You have that is the best beer, it's the best. It's a good beer to drink. That is a funny man. He has to be funny. That is a very serious man. He has to be dramatic. That is a monster. He has to be, make you afraid. I mean from there on the people will say, Well you the kitchen, their car, their pictures, their [stars?]. And even in one moment something come and they have to by themself find what they would like better to do or what they would like to express to do and I'm afraid they won't have so much time to do it and they will be putting such in the same room with the same architecture--

Studs Terkel Conformity.

Jacques Tati Conformity. Same chair, same lamps. I'm afraid that we're going to have the same one too in our country. So when you come in my house you find maybe a little chair that you don't like or maybe you like it. Maybe a little painting that it's what I like to have in my room, and my lamps where I can write. And you will anyway have an invitation and will have come to my house. Now--

Studs Terkel In your house, forgive me for a moment, we have the element of choice.

Jacques Tati Yes.

Studs Terkel We can choose--

Jacques Tati Yes,

Studs Terkel Things in your house.

Jacques Tati You can choose. And also when you come from my house you will say, I went to Mr. Tati's house. Now today if we all are going to have the same table we're all going to have the same lamp, and we're all going to have the same chair. And when you come to my house well it's the same will be the same house that I don't know, Mr. [Proctor's?] house, the director of the, I don't know, the bank because you may have a bigger one. But I mean all the people will have the same windows the same car and the same street. And then we're going to have numbers. Numbers is good for a football team because they're out to fight, but to live with numbers, well I don't like so much--

Studs Terkel Numbers instead of human

Jacques Tati Yes.

Studs Terkel And so if I may draw this parallel, your house--Your art is like your house. You show Mr. Hulot, if come back to this for a moment, here is a man who got in difficulties because he was breaking the mold. He was a kindly soul. But getting in trouble because he was breaking the set pattern , wasn't he?

Jacques Tati Yes you're right because when the people that may not seen in "Hulot's Holiday," that the businessman was still doing his business in his holiday and the old officer was talking about the lost [ball?], the young what we call the politic intellectual was trying to reorganize Europe, who was not so easy, and especially when you're on holiday. And all those people, and the man who did have the little shop with his picking about what kind of [mattress?] he's going to buy for next year. So their holidays [unintelligible] present for me the people who didn't have their holiday, but only have put the uniform as a people who going to holiday. Well now Mr. Hulot comes and the moment he opened the door, he wants to have, to smell the sea, to open the window for the sun, to try to help people and try to enjoy [himself? themselves?]. Now that man who is simple, not impolite, but do wants to enjoy himself. People start to be against because it is not from the regimen, it doesn't follow the-- what you call--it's good to do, and he he wants to be independent. Well if you take the holidays and you even are not allowed to be independent when you take your two weeks vacation, then you're going to have the same sea, the same chair, the same car--

Studs Terkel And no holiday!

Jacques Tati And even maybe the same shirt, I mean. So I think that won't stop anything, but it's a time now that we allowed to preserve [countries?] [who?] really we're living with such a sense of humor and we're free about thinking and even just one television show they don't like it, they must say it. And I do hope even in our self in the, if we don't like what Mr. de Gaulle is doing I know that the French people would say it because it's no reason today, especially in our country, [we're? where?] [unintelligible] such a free thinking that we must be [locked?] and to accept that the people will make the [motto? model?] for us and we're not allowed to change our [army?] because the [army?] already working very well. They'll think for you. Because all the people who do enjoy themselves making all those [models?], they have fun to make your window going up and down with a [model?] It's it's very interesting to make. But the people who use it after two weeks they have no fun anymore. They only push the button; they start to have fun when the door doesn't work [because?]

Studs Terkel [laughter] You're talking about the joy of creating itself. We're not creating. We use but do not create.

Jacques Tati Yes. So the people who create for you, they enjoy themselves, but they don't remember that it's little people in the street who are their own imagination and have [dancing?] for by themself. I went in New York one day and I was such, I was so happy because they did want to make a photo for the "Life" magazine and they [went?] to have a window and we opened the door and inside of the shop was a little man. He was painting. So he say, Can we make your photo in front of a window? I say, Yes sure take it. I say, Are you the painter? He said, No I am the boss. You're the boss of what? I brought the shop. It was a small shop. I said, Why you [then the man?] [unintelligible] I say,But why are you painting that yourself? Well, he say, Because the the way I want to do it they didn't understand exactly what I want. So I find that I want to paint that this way and it's my opinion. Now I said [unintelligible] [he said?] and I say, My God, it's great. [That?] you have to be in "Life" magazine because it's exactly what I was looking for. He, maybe his shop, you may not like it, the taste of his shop, that's another problem. But you're right to respect his ideas--

Studs Terkel His independence.

Jacques Tati His independence to have paint, and that's a shop I ' m going to buy something when I go by in New York because it's so simple and real and nobody can tell me that he don't, is not more proud to have paint and arrange his shop [where they want?] the way he want e d to do, that he have give only an order to a big organization to say, Alright, you paint my shop, because the moment he start to make something by himself and independent I think for myself it's one of the best shop you have in New York.

Studs Terkel Coming back to Hulot again there were some lonely people. Since Hulot offended many people who wanted to do things the way it was without joy, but the lone--Remember of the man who followed his wife, [the person?]? He shook your hand. The little old schoolteacher; the lady who took the auto ride with you and a friend.? She shook her hand, when Hulot left?

Jacques Tati Yes.

Studs Terkel Because I guess they felt

Studs Terkel that-- Yes.

Studs Terkel That he was adding something to

Jacques Tati Yes. They did, he has passed his whole holiday going behind his wife and he, Mr. Hulot was a [little?] attraction for him. And you remember that maybe, oh he was happy that Mr. Hulot did have a little smile from his holiday and he just came to say goodbye and thank you for the little smile. And I think we need the little smile sometimes.

Studs Terkel This matter of humor , oh you, before we talk about the--You felt a sense of humor was diminishing in the world's today; you felt there was a need for more , need for people to more laugh at themselves more. Am I right?

Jacques Tati Yes.

Studs Terkel Look in the mirror

Jacques Tati Yes. Especially now you see I think it's very important because when you see it's coming so fast and when you see a television show and the people have so many television show to do and they start to all act the same. I mean I've watched the television myself to know what [the American look like?]. So I did find that people use the same dialogue, that they make that they put their hands in in their face the same way, they play with all the little paper they have in their table, and they all do it about similar. And I, when I went in the shop, I looked to a girl who was selling something and she has already start to have the television's [unintelligible]. So now even in a shop, the girl who is [there?] will say, Oh, you, that, you have to take it because really it's the best. I mean so now if that is a lesson they're going to receive, even now we speak with a uniform dialogue and uniform attitude and expression then start to be very sad.

Studs Terkel In a way what you are doing is you are representing the individual, unique.

Jacques Tati Yes.

Studs Terkel Dissimilar man is what you're saying.

Jacques Tati Yes I want a man [common?] I say, and not everything goes perfect you see, a man come here say, Hello how are you? Well I stay here. I stay maybe, [bother?] the people for a quarter of an hour or half an hour. But he's still there and if there because he did want to stay there and I don't think we would change something. But when we make pictures today I think we have to help a little bit the people not to have not a better house, not to have a better clothes, not to have a better food, not to have a better salaries as [is? it's] nothing to do, but that we have to try to preserve their thinking and especially their sense of humor because even when you are the country's in a so bad position that you are soldiers, what help a lot of soldiers is they are with friends and they start to joke. Otherwise if we if we were in the army when not one is allowed to make a funny [unintelligible], I don't think--

Studs Terkel Terrible--

Jacques Tati [Unintelligible] they would [stay?] to very long.

Studs Terkel Which leads to your new project, your new picture, "My Uncle." Now is the same philosophy followed through in "My Uncle"? That you had

Jacques Tati Well it's a little bit different because it's it's a family who they have a success for [you see?] and everything. Magazine would you be happy to come in and make a report as Mr. and Mrs. [Arpel's] house. They have a new house very modern, a new garden, a new fountain, a new car, a new kitchen and even the books are new [laughter]. I mean that's their crowd. And in, well they have a little boy who have a very modern new clothes, go to the best school but Mr. Arpel is so busy to have this manufacture working, and the shop, and the house working that he don't have much time to spend with his son. Now Mrs. Arpel, she's got the wonderful modern kitchen equipment , great. And she's also very busy because she's find herself as a real chief of [the industry?] now with all those bottom [unintelligible] [laughter] take care of everything. She must be not only a mother about an engineer--

Studs Terkel Because all these labor saving devices.

Jacques Tati Yes.

Studs Terkel [laughter] Not only a mother but an engineer too.

Jacques Tati Yes, an engineer. And they have, I don't say they lost the little boy but he wants to have fun. He wants to play with other kids in the street. And this picture's called "My Uncle" because the uncle live in the old section where the people are in the street, they are talking to each other. The, what you call, the concierge clean your shirt. And if something happened bad in one house you know that next floor would be in help. And they smile and they laugh. They don't have such maybe wonderful houses and such wonderful clothes but inside they little bit more happy than the people

Studs Terkel Inside they're richer than the other people.

Studs Terkel Yes. And then the little boy start to enjoy himself very much every time the uncle come and fetch him. So the father start to be cross. He say, I pay for the whole situation. I pay the car I pay the house I pay the school I pay the holidays. And now that uncle who is nothing who just live in a small section and come and fetch him, he every time he wants to go and play with his uncle. So he start to be jealous. And it's a little problem between the father and uncle. And at the end they have tried to give a lot of lessons to the uncle who is a little bit Mr. Hulot. They say, You have to have to make and your nice living you have to make you a nice house. Modern. You have to have--And at the end it's that Hulot was give a little lesson to the father. He say, Yes but please. He has a small problem. He's a young kid. And what he wants very often not always but sometimes just to play and go to a poor section and whistle and put the hands in the pocket. And anyway be free because in your house it's wonderful but it's like a very prison in gold. That's why I'm trying to explain

Studs Terkel So "My Uncle," much like Mr. Hulot, in his own way, is breaking a pattern--

Jacques Tati Yes.

Studs Terkel For the individual, the boy in

Jacques Tati Yes because I respect it and I think we mustn't forget today that the equipment is giving to so many people who use it, that they have also maybe forget a lot of people who don't have the equipment today. And those people they are very far, and every year every month they go farther and you see also sometimes in Paris a very old man, and I have one in my picture, and he says worked his whole life, and he can't afford to have all those things coming by big roads. Even can't drive.

Studs Terkel You find the gap is growing too big and the gap should be narrowed, more understanding

Jacques Tati Yes yes yes yes. And we also I think especially I when I say that it's for your country because it's something that I did respect a lot, and most of the, all the French people too. You have make so many funny comic picture, you have make so wonderful jokes on the the real situation of life. You had "Mr. Smith Go to Washington." When you see that man was for [president?] and he had everybody against him. And that for us did represent the most important idea of what is a big country. You have also another picture which called "You Won't Take it With You" or--

Studs Terkel "You Can't Take it With You," the [unintelligible] comedy.

Jacques Tati "You Can't Take it With You." Then for the French we say, Oh my god, is that wonderful. They are making the biggest car. They are making the biggest road. They are making the biggest house, they are making the biggest everything. But still there are also--

Studs Terkel Sense of humor.

Jacques Tati Sense of

Studs Terkel Do you feel much less about today than there was when these pictures were made? In your observations here?

Jacques Tati I think so yes. Because at that time the people, I don't say that it's nothing to do with the situation, but I think they were allowed more and they didn't have to ask a question if they could joke with that, or not with that, or with that. They'd just say alright. And even in your country what's great that any moment we may was thinking something funny will happen because they never take theirself seriously and to make a country like the states so big and be still allowed to joke of the country, for myself I think it's a biggest compliment I could give [you?].

Studs Terkel Of course you hope that sense of humor, laughing at self, will not be lost though at the moment seems a little [unintelligible].

Jacques Tati It's a [unintelligible] [otherwise?] today [what the?] people [have?], the papers, bad news, you only see one day some boy has a bad accident you got in a front page, and you can go from one paper to another paper. It's very difficult to find a little laugh.

Studs Terkel Back to your films and you're approach in [unintelligible]. In "Mr. Hulot's Holiday" and "My Uncle" you wrote the script, you directed it.

Jacques Tati Yes.

Studs Terkel You--

Jacques Tati But that's not important, I've--

Studs Terkel Now we'll come to this, this is yours.

Jacques Tati Yes.

Studs Terkel Your baby.

Jacques Tati Yes. Yes. It's my baby. I believe on the, when one man decide one day, [this?] nobody know the reason to be a painter. He paints and even can be a very bad painter. Maybe you find this painting one day at a small shop for even one dollar or maybe one day you find this painting in a very important shop for a million dollar. But I believe in the, when the man have decide to do something that's painting, or pictures, I want to explain something that I feel about. I do it myself. Why should I want to paint [that?] Mr. Picasso has to take my hands. Even if you say [if?] my mistakes I see are more important than necessary to the young generation who have something to explain. And I want to preserve that, that that they be allowed to tell their own story. Because the way I explain mine [otherwise?] they would be so commercial industry and they will make pictures like they make cars. Well for cars it's possible because it's only a [unintelligible]. To tell stories is not possible. So I went to the University of Yale and I went to the dramatic [French?] who of Yale University--

Studs Terkel Course.

Jacques Tati Course. And I saw 200 young face. And those faces, I can understand they wanted to say something. Well to fight to be free and independent artistic control. I think I bring them a little [stuff?], not much, but.

Studs Terkel I'm sure plenty. Because you liked that man in that New York store who owned that place and painted it himself for the same reason that you did this movie yourself from the beginning to end.

Jacques Tati Yeah. It's not, you see today that people say, Jacques, what you have done what you, make a lot of money, is not only a question of money, because you can be so sad in a wonderful place, in a wonderful apartment. Enjoy yourself so much in a small little shop or in a small little apartment where you have something, [unintelligible] brings something to you. That is not a question to be I'm not [proud?] to do that because I will not enjoy myself to do it the other way. Why should I make a television show every week a quarter of an hour, a lot of [lot?] money, wouldn't do exactly what I want. If I want to joke or something they say it's impossible because there's a [plastic?] is the man who has paid the show on the television and you can joke [in? on?] plastic. So I would say, Alright, but I'm going to do [unintelligible] with a [car?]. You can't joke with a car Jacques, because that's our--

Studs Terkel Sponsor.

Jacques Tati So I will read aloud to you and I wish that I am allowed today even to joke on our radio in France. Well it's not always very good television. I also understand that the people joke in my pictures. I mean therefore that reason I think today that people who wants to explain himself they have to travel a little bit, speak to each other, and not accept "Oh that's so easy to say alright, we're going to have a wonderful Sunday because there's a wonderful picture in a large CinemaScope. We're going to see a wonderful color with wonderful actors and with wonderful singers." I mean you may just say, oh we're going to see a picture, and--

Studs Terkel Judge for yourself.

Jacques Tati Judge for yourself.

Jacques Tati Talking about the free audience here as well as the free artist. Choice again.

Jacques Tati [ Unintelligible] [wanted?] to ask me to have it [out?] on a professional jacket. Why don't you do that? Why? I say, Of course I can do. Why don't you have a director? Because [I see] the moment I will have write the story and I will find a little gril charming, [thin?], and the director will say I like that girl very much to play the part. Then the producer will say that, But that's not box office. How can we make an advertisement with that girl who is nice, thing, charming? What they want is a--

Studs Terkel Billboard. Bosomy.

Jacques Tati And then the story doesn't exist anymore because she was not the girl to play the part. And you find a [would?] say, I make a lot of pictures and I did one did like the pictures I've made. When I make three and I've made my picture and it's exactly the three pictures that I did want to do.

Studs Terkel These are the three pictures you wanted to make

Jacques Tati I [unintelligible]--

Studs Terkel Three hundred that you did with others that weren't yours.

Jacques Tati Yes. [You see?] that was very important today. If you come and said, Jacques, there's something in your picture I didn't like. You talk to me and I say, you may be right. That's the way I'm trying to do it. I can't say, Oh but you are 100 percent right because they didn't let me having the set I want or the decoration I want, for that reason. No, I've always [unintelligible] [excused?]. I don't, I have no excuse.

Studs Terkel It's your responsibility all the way.

Jacques Tati One

Studs Terkel In the matter of acting, like the skinny little girl you liked rather than say a girl who is a glamorous star. In your pictures, in "My Uncle" is it true you use a non-professional actor who is the person?

Jacques Tati Yes.

Studs Terkel Is that it?

Jacques Tati Yes. Yes I use , I want the people are the character for not on the outside but from their inside , you see? I don't want that I'm obliged to teach them, you see I have to give you an example of the other day as a professional actor, I believe on the professional actor in the theater because that very important work. You have to [feel?] the public, you have to know one day you feel better and you have to act regarding the reaction of the audience. In the--

Studs Terkel This is the flesh and blood theater?

Jacques Tati Yes. Because you [feel?] the same thing. You always come in the same, you come back in life, I mean that's a that's another problem.

Studs Terkel But in a movie, in a film--

Jacques Tati But in a movie is different because, and I told you the other day, sometimes you see a picture where the part is playing by a very important actor is a butcher, yes? And you see him in the picture, strong, he cut the meat and he's very good he's wonderful. Everybody believe that he's got a wonderful shop and he's got a drama with his wife and his still [unintelligible] [big?] of a butcher. Now the next week you come in the cinema and you see it's the same actor, the same star playing, but this week he's playing a part of a doctor. Now if he's only a doctor it's not so bad, but if he start to be a surgeon, to make an operation, you start to be afraid [laughter] because you saw him the week before cutting the meat. So--

Studs Terkel He was such a good butcher!

Jacques Tati Good butcher that even if he say, Don't worry everything will be all right, I say yes, well that you can also [unintelligible], [laughter] and I think in the cinema today more the more natural the people come, more the public believe and the amateur are bringing a lot of that, and even man who is alone [can respect him?] with his camera and shoot what he wants. Sometimes he makes a great picture.

Studs Terkel Monsieur Tati there's so much more I know that you have to say. But I think we're, we've got the signal. Of course I know you have to go elsewhere now and you've given us in this half hour, I think it was about a half hour, so much of yourself, of your feelings as an artist and perhaps more important but just as important as a human being in this technological world we live in.

Jacques Tati Thank you very much. I've tried to explain that. [Unintelligible], you have to excuse maybe it was a bit too long some time?

Studs Terkel On the contrary!

Jacques Tati I mean, no I mean my dialogue but it's I didn't learn anything. I didn't ever prepare anything, maybe it looks a little bit too impromptu for you.

Studs Terkel On the contrary--

Jacques Tati But it's exactly what I feel inside. And nobody can ask me to change because nobody can show me a very good reason why I have to change.

Studs Terkel Thank God you won't change. You are the artist in this time. A very important artist to use a word that's been overused but I think it fits here very well and we shall look forward to seeing "Mon Oncle"--

Jacques Tati Thank you.

Studs Terkel "My Uncle" at the Surf Theater, it opens this Christmas Day and I hope you return to America again. We want more conversations--

Jacques Tati Thank you.

Studs Terkel

Jacques Tati This evening's program is a rebroadcast of one first heard in 1958, thirty-four years ago over this station when Jacques Tati the French filmmaker, the actor, director, writer, producer of his films came to town with his second internationally known movie. The first of course was "Mr. Hulot's Holiday," which was a smash, [course?] a new interpretation of vacations and the human comedy. But the one [we're?] under discussion you hear in a moment was the second film, "Mon Oncle," dealing with the way things change in technology and once upon a time and has the air, the wondrousness of the child's imagination is there. [Unintelligible] remember that this was 34 years ago in 1958. [1958 recording begins] Were seated in the suite of a rather chichi hotel on Chicago's near north side and across the microphone in the room is the distinguished French actor, director, producer, writer, Jacques Tati. I guess most Americans think of Mr. Tati they think of his creation, a Mr. Hulot. Of course "Mr. Hulot's Holiday," the comical hero yet the wistful hero. Mr. Tati is in Chicago right now in advance of his new film. "My Uncle." So Monsieur Tati, Monsieur Tati, You pronounce it well because most of the time that people say, How you pronounce your name Mister Tee-tie, or Too-tah, Tati? I don't know was it very difficult for the American to pronounce Tati? Shouldn't be. T-A-T-I. Tati. And the, well anytime I'm on the phone, [they all?] say, What's your name? Tati. What do you say? I said Tati. How you pronounce it? T-A-T-I. I mean it looks very difficult, no? One of the questions I'm sure that comes up is your technique or your approach in "Mr. Hulot's Holiday." It seemed as though some of the actors, many were professionals, were not acting as though they were caught. Well yes because what I'm [don't?] thing that I'm always say I have done that or I am going to do that, I most of the time think and I try what I have try in the picture is to make the the actors [unintelligible] the people that I have in my picture as most natural as they are when you watch them from this window or gathering them in the street. From there on, if you come with me in the window and you watch the people in the street and you see how simple the people talk to each other all in a very simple with one man ask if [his road?] and the other one will answer him. That can't be done if you are in a set and the people start to, the director out of say, Lights, camera. So the actors start to hear "Lights, camera" that's supposed to be very important and then after is "action." So at action the men start to say [unintelligible], say, Well I was caught. No please I want you to say more, [changes inflection] Well. So start again. Number two. "Camera, lights, action" and start. [changes inflection] Well-- No, I'm sorry [laughter]. No, I would like a nice [changes inflection] "Well," you see. So what I'm trying to do, it's just to that the people don't feel that they are making your picture. Don't feel that they are shooting, I'm shooting a picture, and put themselves in a situation that they are natural. Sometimes when I find that in the rehearsal the man is coming exactly when I want, I have a little sign with the cameraman and the camera start and he doesn't know he-- Oh, this is between you and the camera. Yeah. But the actor doesn't know he's being photographed? No. Ah, so you caught many of them unaware-- Yes. During rehearsals? Yes, yes. You see you you will understand that Studs, sometimes when the amateurs make photo they come out with their own little camera and they took shots, you find these people sometimes are natural. And even so funny because I don't know if that happened to you when you come [a friend?] say, Oh I took a picture from our holidays in Paris and you see so funny faces coming and looking at how [French?] tried to get a bus, and if they knew that it was a camera, they would not be as natural as they are in those little amateur. So the people called me most of the time that I am an amateur-- Amateur in the wonderful sense! Well well a lot of people [has been?] as amateurs, yes? And pictures? And painting? Because I think one of what the attractions of this film to so many, to everybody who saw it, is that was like a mirror. People in a way were seeing themselves the little frailties on this French resort. Yes, yes. That you caught. Yes that is my [goal?] [unintelligible], when you see the people you say, I know that man I don't know where I've seen him but I know he's got a manufacture , I know he's important, I know he wants to make a lot of money. And I also know the little [dogs?] in the street who don't care if it's a red light or a green light or if it's policemen. And they just only go in the streets and they have [their time?]. I mean it's why when they say about the construction, people say, Is your picture has a story construction? For myself they have. But I let the people more observe with me. It's a little invitation to say, Come with me behind the camera. We're going to watch the people. You may find friends you may also find people that you know people that you like or people that you dislike. And anyway I don't want you to prove so much. I want you to--Your imagination starts to make their own construction and [words? work?], and I say that the picture don't, is not my picture, the picture start to belong to you, it start to be your picture. If I interpret you correctly, you're saying now it's the audience itself. You suggest you don't draw a diagram black and white, a two plus two is four. You make a suggestion and that thing finishes. And then the audience itself-- Yes. Reacts. Yes. That's what I try. You have you had in painting. [Unintelligible] the Impressionists? Mmmhmm. They did suggest but you could stay quarter of an hour or 20 minutes in front of wonderful Impressionist painting and then you start to find that it's a [rare?] river-- Like a little point. There are so many points in "Hulot," we'll come to "My Uncle" in a moment. In "Hulot," the points of, you make a point the waiter when a fat guest comes, his slice of beef he cuts is that for the skinny man before him. Yes, yes, I don't say, I could say in another way with a very good expression of a very proficient comedian, Oh now come a fat man, I'm going to give him a bigger piece of meat. I just have let the public cut the meat. I mean I didn't, you can't even see much. The man who cut the meat, you, it's the public who [start to?] cut it, that man is fat I'm obliged to give him a [big one?] [laughter], and that one is so thin that with that little piece there will be enough , I mean, that's why I'm trying. I I do hope that the people don't come and see my picture and say, Oh now we're going to see-- No. They come and it's a n invitation. So when you are, have an invitation maybe you enjoyed the party and you stay or you don't enjoyed it and you leave. And I'd rather get the people who, [and I?] [so few?] did leave the cinema and say, Well it's not my cup of tea. Or they're not accustomed to giving. Do you, perhaps you're inferring this too or am I assuming that the audience today what with new techniques, television, new kinds of advances, we receive. We're getting humor in the house. Yes. Everything is being fed to us by the spoon. Yeah. And you're asking people to contribute something themselves. Yes, yes. Because otherwise, I'm not against you see when the people say you're against the modern equipment, against the modern architecture. I'm not against but even like you say about the television you must, you can't make a choice. You have that is the best beer, it's the best. It's a good beer to drink. That is a funny man. He has to be funny. That is a very serious man. He has to be dramatic. That is a monster. He has to be, make you afraid. I mean from there on the people will say, Well you the kitchen, their car, their pictures, their [stars?]. And even in one moment something come and they have to by themself find what they would like better to do or what they would like to express to do and I'm afraid they won't have so much time to do it and they will be putting such in the same room with the same architecture-- Conformity. Conformity. Same chair, same lamps. I'm afraid that we're going to have the same one too in our country. So when you come in my house you find maybe a little chair that you don't like or maybe you like it. Maybe a little painting that it's what I like to have in my room, and my lamps where I can write. And you will anyway have an invitation and will have come to my house. Now-- In your house, forgive me for a moment, we have the element of choice. Yes. We can choose-- Yes, Things in your house. You can choose. And also when you come from my house you will say, I went to Mr. Tati's house. Now today if we all are going to have the same table we're all going to have the same lamp, and we're all going to have the same chair. And when you come to my house well it's the same will be the same house that I don't know, Mr. [Proctor's?] house, the director of the, I don't know, the bank because you may have a bigger one. But I mean all the people will have the same windows the same car and the same street. And then we're going to have numbers. Numbers is good for a football team because they're out to fight, but to live with numbers, well I don't like so much-- Numbers instead of human beings? Yes. And so if I may draw this parallel, your house--Your art is like your house. You show Mr. Hulot, if come back to this for a moment, here is a man who got in difficulties because he was breaking the mold. He was a kindly soul. But getting in trouble because he was breaking the set pattern , wasn't he? Yes you're right because when the people that may not seen in "Hulot's Holiday," that the businessman was still doing his business in his holiday and the old officer was talking about the lost [ball?], the young what we call the politic intellectual was trying to reorganize Europe, who was not so easy, and especially when you're on holiday. And all those people, and the man who did have the little shop with his picking about what kind of [mattress?] he's going to buy for next year. So their holidays [unintelligible] present for me the people who didn't have their holiday, but only have put the uniform as a people who going to holiday. Well now Mr. Hulot comes and the moment he opened the door, he wants to have, to smell the sea, to open the window for the sun, to try to help people and try to enjoy [himself? themselves?]. Now that man who is simple, not impolite, but do wants to enjoy himself. People start to be against because it is not from the regimen, it doesn't follow the-- what you call--it's good to do, and he he wants to be independent. Well if you take the holidays and you even are not allowed to be independent when you take your two weeks vacation, then you're going to have the same sea, the same chair, the same car-- And no holiday! And even maybe the same shirt, I mean. So I think that won't stop anything, but it's a time now that we allowed to preserve [countries?] [who?] really we're living with such a sense of humor and we're free about thinking and even just one television show they don't like it, they must say it. And I do hope even in our self in the, if we don't like what Mr. de Gaulle is doing I know that the French people would say it because it's no reason today, especially in our country, [we're? where?] [unintelligible] such a free thinking that we must be [locked?] and to accept that the people will make the [motto? model?] for us and we're not allowed to change our [army?] because the [army?] already working very well. They'll think for you. Because all the people who do enjoy themselves making all those [models?], they have fun to make your window going up and down with a [model?] It's it's very interesting to make. But the people who use it after two weeks they have no fun anymore. They only push the button; they start to have fun when the door doesn't work [because?] [laughter] You're talking about the joy of creating itself. We're not creating. We use but do not create. Yes. So the people who create for you, they enjoy themselves, but they don't remember that it's little people in the street who are their own imagination and have [dancing?] for by themself. I went in New York one day and I was such, I was so happy because they did want to make a photo for the "Life" magazine and they [went?] to have a window and we opened the door and inside of the shop was a little man. He was painting. So he say, Can we make your photo in front of a window? I say, Yes sure take it. I say, Are you the painter? He said, No I am the boss. You're the boss of what? I brought the shop. It was a small shop. I said, Why you [then the man?] [unintelligible] I say,But why are you painting that yourself? Well, he say, Because the the way I want to do it they didn't understand exactly what I want. So I find that I want to paint that this way and it's my opinion. Now I said [unintelligible] [he said?] and I say, My God, it's great. [That?] you have to be in "Life" magazine because it's exactly what I was looking for. He, maybe his shop, you may not like it, the taste of his shop, that's another problem. But you're right to respect his ideas-- His independence. His independence to have paint, and that's a shop I ' m going to buy something when I go by in New York because it's so simple and real and nobody can tell me that he don't, is not more proud to have paint and arrange his shop [where they want?] the way he want e d to do, that he have give only an order to a big organization to say, Alright, you paint my shop, because the moment he start to make something by himself and independent I think for myself it's one of the best shop you have in New York. Coming back to Hulot again there were some lonely people. Since Hulot offended many people who wanted to do things the way it was without joy, but the lone--Remember of the man who followed his wife, [the person?]? He shook your hand. The little old schoolteacher; the lady who took the auto ride with you and a friend.? She shook her hand, when Hulot left? Yes. Because I guess they felt that-- Yes. That he was adding something to their Yes. They did, he has passed his whole holiday going behind his wife and he, Mr. Hulot was a [little?] attraction for him. And you remember that maybe, oh he was happy that Mr. Hulot did have a little smile from his holiday and he just came to say goodbye and thank you for the little smile. And I think we need the little smile sometimes. This matter of humor , oh you, before we talk about the--You felt a sense of humor was diminishing in the world's today; you felt there was a need for more , need for people to more laugh at themselves more. Am I right? Yes. Look in the mirror more. Yes. Especially now you see I think it's very important because when you see it's coming so fast and when you see a television show and the people have so many television show to do and they start to all act the same. I mean I've watched the television myself to know what [the American look like?]. So I did find that people use the same dialogue, that they make that they put their hands in in their face the same way, they play with all the little paper they have in their table, and they all do it about similar. And I, when I went in the shop, I looked to a girl who was selling something and she has already start to have the television's [unintelligible]. So now even in a shop, the girl who is [there?] will say, Oh, you, that, you have to take it because really it's the best. I mean so now if that is a lesson they're going to receive, even now we speak with a uniform dialogue and uniform attitude and expression then start to be very sad. In a way what you are doing is you are representing the individual, unique. Yes. Dissimilar man is what you're saying. Yes I want a man [common?] I say, and not everything goes perfect you see, a man come here say, Hello how are you? Well I stay here. I stay maybe, [bother?] the people for a quarter of an hour or half an hour. But he's still there and if there because he did want to stay there and I don't think we would change something. But when we make pictures today I think we have to help a little bit the people not to have not a better house, not to have a better clothes, not to have a better food, not to have a better salaries as [is? it's] nothing to do, but that we have to try to preserve their thinking and especially their sense of humor because even when you are the country's in a so bad position that you are soldiers, what help a lot of soldiers is they are with friends and they start to joke. Otherwise if we if we were in the army when not one is allowed to make a funny [unintelligible], I don't think-- Terrible-- [Unintelligible] they would [stay?] to very long. Which leads to your new project, your new picture, "My Uncle." Now is the same philosophy followed through in "My Uncle"? That you had here? Well it's a little bit different because it's it's a family who they have a success for [you see?] and everything. Magazine would you be happy to come in and make a report as Mr. and Mrs. [Arpel's] house. They have a new house very modern, a new garden, a new fountain, a new car, a new kitchen and even the books are new [laughter]. I mean that's their crowd. And in, well they have a little boy who have a very modern new clothes, go to the best school but Mr. Arpel is so busy to have this manufacture working, and the shop, and the house working that he don't have much time to spend with his son. Now Mrs. Arpel, she's got the wonderful modern kitchen equipment , great. And she's also very busy because she's find herself as a real chief of [the industry?] now with all those bottom [unintelligible] [laughter] take care of everything. She must be not only a mother about an engineer-- Because all these labor saving devices. Yes. [laughter] Not only a mother but an engineer too. Yes, an engineer. And they have, I don't say they lost the little boy but he wants to have fun. He wants to play with other kids in the street. And this picture's called "My Uncle" because the uncle live in the old section where the people are in the street, they are talking to each other. The, what you call, the concierge clean your shirt. And if something happened bad in one house you know that next floor would be in help. And they smile and they laugh. They don't have such maybe wonderful houses and such wonderful clothes but inside they little bit more happy than the people Inside they're richer than the other people. Yes. And then the little boy start to enjoy himself very much every time the uncle come and fetch him. So the father start to be cross. He say, I pay for the whole situation. I pay the car I pay the house I pay the school I pay the holidays. And now that uncle who is nothing who just live in a small section and come and fetch him, he every time he wants to go and play with his uncle. So he start to be jealous. And it's a little problem between the father and uncle. And at the end they have tried to give a lot of lessons to the uncle who is a little bit Mr. Hulot. They say, You have to have to make and your nice living you have to make you a nice house. Modern. You have to have--And at the end it's that Hulot was give a little lesson to the father. He say, Yes but please. He has a small problem. He's a young kid. And what he wants very often not always but sometimes just to play and go to a poor section and whistle and put the hands in the pocket. And anyway be free because in your house it's wonderful but it's like a very prison in gold. That's why I'm trying to explain the So "My Uncle," much like Mr. Hulot, in his own way, is breaking a pattern-- Yes. For the individual, the boy in this Yes because I respect it and I think we mustn't forget today that the equipment is giving to so many people who use it, that they have also maybe forget a lot of people who don't have the equipment today. And those people they are very far, and every year every month they go farther and you see also sometimes in Paris a very old man, and I have one in my picture, and he says worked his whole life, and he can't afford to have all those things coming by big roads. Even can't drive. You find the gap is growing too big and the gap should be narrowed, more understanding here Yes yes yes yes. And we also I think especially I when I say that it's for your country because it's something that I did respect a lot, and most of the, all the French people too. You have make so many funny comic picture, you have make so wonderful jokes on the the real situation of life. You had "Mr. Smith Go to Washington." When you see that man was for [president?] and he had everybody against him. And that for us did represent the most important idea of what is a big country. You have also another picture which called "You Won't Take it With You" or-- "You Can't Take it With You," the [unintelligible] comedy. "You Can't Take it With You." Then for the French we say, Oh my god, is that wonderful. They are making the biggest car. They are making the biggest road. They are making the biggest house, they are making the biggest everything. But still there are also-- Sense of humor. Sense of humor. Do you feel much less about today than there was when these pictures were made? In your observations here? I think so yes. Because at that time the people, I don't say that it's nothing to do with the situation, but I think they were allowed more and they didn't have to ask a question if they could joke with that, or not with that, or with that. They'd just say alright. And even in your country what's great that any moment we may was thinking something funny will happen because they never take theirself seriously and to make a country like the states so big and be still allowed to joke of the country, for myself I think it's a biggest compliment I could give [you?]. Of course you hope that sense of humor, laughing at self, will not be lost though at the moment seems a little [unintelligible]. It's a [unintelligible] [otherwise?] today [what the?] people [have?], the papers, bad news, you only see one day some boy has a bad accident you got in a front page, and you can go from one paper to another paper. It's very difficult to find a little laugh. Back to your films and you're approach in [unintelligible]. In "Mr. Hulot's Holiday" and "My Uncle" you wrote the script, you directed it. Yes. You-- But that's not important, I've-- Now we'll come to this, this is yours. Yes. Your baby. Yes. Yes. It's my baby. I believe on the, when one man decide one day, [this?] nobody know the reason to be a painter. He paints and even can be a very bad painter. Maybe you find this painting one day at a small shop for even one dollar or maybe one day you find this painting in a very important shop for a million dollar. But I believe in the, when the man have decide to do something that's painting, or pictures, I want to explain something that I feel about. I do it myself. Why should I want to paint [that?] Mr. Picasso has to take my hands. Even if you say [if?] my mistakes I see are more important than necessary to the young generation who have something to explain. And I want to preserve that, that that they be allowed to tell their own story. Because the way I explain mine [otherwise?] they would be so commercial industry and they will make pictures like they make cars. Well for cars it's possible because it's only a [unintelligible]. To tell stories is not possible. So I went to the University of Yale and I went to the dramatic [French?] who of Yale University-- Course. Course. And I saw 200 young face. And those faces, I can understand they wanted to say something. Well to fight to be free and independent artistic control. I think I bring them a little [stuff?], not much, but. I'm sure plenty. Because you liked that man in that New York store who owned that place and painted it himself for the same reason that you did this movie yourself from the beginning to end. Yeah. It's not, you see today that people say, Jacques, what you have done what you, make a lot of money, is not only a question of money, because you can be so sad in a wonderful place, in a wonderful apartment. Enjoy yourself so much in a small little shop or in a small little apartment where you have something, [unintelligible] brings something to you. That is not a question to be I'm not [proud?] to do that because I will not enjoy myself to do it the other way. Why should I make a television show every week a quarter of an hour, a lot of [lot?] money, wouldn't do exactly what I want. If I want to joke or something they say it's impossible because there's a [plastic?] is the man who has paid the show on the television and you can joke [in? on?] plastic. So I would say, Alright, but I'm going to do [unintelligible] with a [car?]. You can't joke with a car Jacques, because that's our-- Sponsor. So I will read aloud to you and I wish that I am allowed today even to joke on our radio in France. Well it's not always very good television. I also understand that the people joke in my pictures. I mean therefore that reason I think today that people who wants to explain himself they have to travel a little bit, speak to each other, and not accept "Oh that's so easy to say alright, we're going to have a wonderful Sunday because there's a wonderful picture in a large CinemaScope. We're going to see a wonderful color with wonderful actors and with wonderful singers." I mean you may just say, oh we're going to see a picture, and-- Judge for yourself. Judge for yourself. Talking about the free audience here as well as the free artist. Choice again. [ Unintelligible] [wanted?] to ask me to have it [out?] on a professional jacket. Why don't you do that? Why? I say, Of course I can do. Why don't you have a director? Because [I see] the moment I will have write the story and I will find a little gril charming, [thin?], and the director will say I like that girl very much to play the part. Then the producer will say that, But that's not box office. How can we make an advertisement with that girl who is nice, thing, charming? What they want is a-- Billboard. Bosomy. And then the story doesn't exist anymore because she was not the girl to play the part. And you find a [would?] say, I make a lot of pictures and I did one did like the pictures I've made. When I make three and I've made my picture and it's exactly the three pictures that I did want to do. These are the three pictures you wanted to make - I [unintelligible]-- Three hundred that you did with others that weren't yours. Yes. [You see?] that was very important today. If you come and said, Jacques, there's something in your picture I didn't like. You talk to me and I say, you may be right. That's the way I'm trying to do it. I can't say, Oh but you are 100 percent right because they didn't let me having the set I want or the decoration I want, for that reason. No, I've always [unintelligible] [excused?]. I don't, I have no excuse. It's your responsibility all the way. One In the matter of acting, like the skinny little girl you liked rather than say a girl who is a glamorous star. In your pictures, in "My Uncle" is it true you use a non-professional actor who is the person? Yes. Is that it? Yes. Yes I use , I want the people are the character for not on the outside but from their inside , you see? I don't want that I'm obliged to teach them, you see I have to give you an example of the other day as a professional actor, I believe on the professional actor in the theater because that very important work. You have to [feel?] the public, you have to know one day you feel better and you have to act regarding the reaction of the audience. In the-- This is the flesh and blood theater? Yes. Because you [feel?] the same thing. You always come in the same, you come back in life, I mean that's a that's another problem. But in a movie, in a film-- But in a movie is different because, and I told you the other day, sometimes you see a picture where the part is playing by a very important actor is a butcher, yes? And you see him in the picture, strong, he cut the meat and he's very good he's wonderful. Everybody believe that he's got a wonderful shop and he's got a drama with his wife and his still [unintelligible] [big?] of a butcher. Now the next week you come in the cinema and you see it's the same actor, the same star playing, but this week he's playing a part of a doctor. Now if he's only a doctor it's not so bad, but if he start to be a surgeon, to make an operation, you start to be afraid [laughter] because you saw him the week before cutting the meat. So-- He was such a good butcher! [laughter] Good butcher that even if he say, Don't worry everything will be all right, I say yes, well that you can also [unintelligible], [laughter] and I think in the cinema today more the more natural the people come, more the public believe and the amateur are bringing a lot of that, and even man who is alone [can respect him?] with his camera and shoot what he wants. Sometimes he makes a great picture. Monsieur Tati there's so much more I know that you have to say. But I think we're, we've got the signal. Of course I know you have to go elsewhere now and you've given us in this half hour, I think it was about a half hour, so much of yourself, of your feelings as an artist and perhaps more important but just as important as a human being in this technological world we live in. Thank you very much. I've tried to explain that. [Unintelligible], you have to excuse maybe it was a bit too long some time? On the contrary! I mean, no I mean my dialogue but it's I didn't learn anything. I didn't ever prepare anything, maybe it looks a little bit too impromptu for you. On the contrary-- But it's exactly what I feel inside. And nobody can ask me to change because nobody can show me a very good reason why I have to change. Thank God you won't change. You are the artist in this time. A very important artist to use a word that's been overused but I think it fits here very well and we shall look forward to seeing "Mon Oncle"-- Thank you. "My Uncle" at the Surf Theater, it opens this Christmas Day and I hope you return to America again. We want more conversations-- Thank you. And Thank

Studs Terkel Jacques Tati. That was the conversation with Jacques Tati the French filmmaker in 1958. He was at the Ambassador West Hotel. So that was a program of 30, 34 years ago. You can tell by the sound of the voices and the nature of the conversation. Thirty-four years ago. "Mon Oncle" was the film that dealt with, well in a sense the wondrous n ess of childhood and the nature of more and more of the impersonality of a world. Tati was prescient as a filmmaker. By the film's all his, he act e d in it, wrote it, directed it. "Mr. Hulot's Holiday" that preceded "Mon Oncle" was the one that made him popular in other countries including the United States. And I thought since we have time to fill in French children songs, of course. So these are kids in Paris singing. Some guy went along with a tape recorder and picked up, they sing traditional children's songs. "Cadet Rousselle," "Young Rousselle," there's a refrain here that he's a good natured fellow, three suits, two yellow, and the other gray paper, and it's sung about this young Rousselle. The father has three suits he also has three sons. Three boys. One is a thief the other a rascal the third a trickster and they're all like the father. And it goes on. And he's married to three girls in three localities. The first two have no looks at all. A third has no brains. This is quite a family. He also has three pennies and they're paying off all his creditors. And after he pays, after he shows them his assets, he puts the money back in the purse. But Rousselle they say will never die. He's around and about. But he's going to learn spelling before he pops off to write his own epitaph. Meaning I suppose he lived after a fashion. Here a French kid singing it.

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Studs Terkel I thought perhaps we'll do about three or four of these French children's songs which I think the perfect musical collective coda for the thoughts of Jacques Tati back in 1958. "The Little Drummer Boy" is good. That's a pop--It's been used from, "The Pretty Drummer Boy," "Joli Tambour," and this is the usual story of the kid returning from war and of course as there's king's daughter at the window and she seeks a rose from the drummer boy and he seeks her heart. And she says, Ask my old man the king, and the king says well the obvious thing. You've got no money kid. And so he says, I've got three vessels on the shining sea. the king says to the drummer boy. One with gold and the others with precious stones. He says, Drummer boy, take her. Take the boat and take my daughter. But there are pretty ones in my own country, so I can imagine a situation. The guy wants to get rid of his daughter and the drummer boy who has no money, he gives him the daughter and the ships. He says, Remember there are pretty girls around and about. And so the king is sort of ambivalent. The sit--You know I supposed the story of the ambivalent King you might call it. And anyway "Joli Tambour," "Drummer Boy."

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Studs Terkel One of the most popular I guess of French children's songs is "Ah! Mon Beau Chateau," "My Lovely Castle." And this is the one of choosing castles, the smaller it is , goes one version, the more beautiful it is. And this is not sung by kids. This one in contrast to the two you heard is song by a couple of adult singers, Andre Claveau and Mate Altery and nonetheless French kids

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Studs Terkel You know if we could just play some more, just a few more songs. This is really adding to the brief conversation with a Jacques Tati thirty-four years ago with a French filmmaker. He was one of the White Russians who by the way who came, his family came following the revolution in Russia and they settled, on a great many White Russians say settled in Paris and he was one them, his family , Jacques [Tateviech] [sic] Jack Tati. And so we have "Au CLair de la Lune." I guess that makes--Someone said that's the most popular of the songs. This is the one dealing with his friend Pierrot and writing a note. The candle has gone out. No more fire.

Let me write that note, have no pen, go to your neighbors and someone striking a light in the kitchen. He could see it, peering [he is?] through the window. Something of a kid [voye? voyeur?}. And the moon light one sees but little. They look for the pen. They see some fire and they don't know what they found but they know the door closed behind them.

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Studs Terkel We're playing some old French children's songs as sort of an epilogue, musical epilogue to the conversation with Jack Tati that took place here in Chicago back in 34 years ago back in 1958 when the film, his second known film in the United States, "Mon Oncle" was playing. Following the success a couple of years, by a couple of years of "Mr. Hulot's HOliday." And so "Good King Dagobert"

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This is our program for this evening. It's one that was first taped , the one with Jacques Tati some 34 years ago. You can probably tell from the nature of the conversation and the tone of the tones of the voice as well. And until the next program take it easy but take it.