Representation Of The Modern City Of Paris Essay

Representation Of The Modern City Of Paris Essay

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Tati’s representation of the modern city of Paris in ‘Playtime’ is mainly a criticism however he does not completely disregard the advantages of city life. This essay will outline the several different techniques Tati utilises to criticise the modern city and furthermore recognize its magnificence.
‘Tati-ville’ as it was dubbed, is an exaggerated depiction of a hyper-modern Paris built in the International Style of architecture, made entirely of Glass and Steel. Tati created a multi-million pound mini-metropolis in order to use visual images as his main technique to criticise the city. Using these images Tati could show the audience with their own eyes what Paris could look like in the near future. Forced perspective is used to make buildings look larger making them more intimidating. The exteriors look identical for example the airport, drugstore and offices, despite their different purposes. The interiors also use identical furnishings for example the iconic squeaky black chairs appear in the offices and homes and the same flooring and wall paint creating uniformity and emphasising these buildings as generic, impersonal non-places. The film deliberately lacks colour giving the impression that it is filmed in black and white owing to the muted greys and light blue tones creating a bleak effect. This contrasts later in the Hotel scene when Tati intensifies the colour and lighting as well as introducing vibrant clothes into costumes to represent the breakdown of technology as the modern world of the restaurant falls apart. Playtime is unusual as it is filmed using establishing shots with a wide frame, deprived of any close ups. This allows Tati to show numerous actions simultaneously -often referred to as “choreographed chaos”- de...


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...nisation of the city, the rigid and boring society, the domination of identical architecture and the confusion caused by technology leaving us with the chilling notion that we cannot control urban development causing all cities to succumb to globalisation and industrialisation. Nevertheless although Tati’s views of the city are predominantly a criticism; he doesn’t blame it entirely for all problems. He places a large amount of blame on humanity who are responsible for controlling every aspect of life in this impersonal dehumanizing way. Tati shows that we need chance situations and unpredictable environments in our lives. He blames humanity for being materialistic and their obsession with new technologies and the turn towards Americanisation because Tati knows that the city has reached a new level of absurdity because of greedy businessmen who only care for profit.

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