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Review: Monday Morning

This life-affirming comedy actually contemplates our freedom from the machine.

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Monday Morning

Vincent (Jacques Bidou) works as a welder at a local factory with a strict non-smoking policy. Ignored by his wife and children, this alienated would-be painter leaves for Venice looking for spiritual enlightenment. What follows is Otar Iosseliani’s homage to Jacques Tati: Vincent leaves for work Mon Oncle-style; his voyage to Italy is like M. Hulot’s Holiday; and a very ordinary day at work could be seen as a deleted Playtime. Despite these unmistakable shout-outs, Iosseliani avoids copying Tati’s formal stylistics. In fact, there’s a greater sense of realism at work here; no sound effects accompany any of the film’s endless sight gags, and Iosseliani’s use of long shot never calls too much attention to itself. Monday Morning isn’t quite as ideological as Playtime yet Iosseliani is still concerned with our enslavement to technology, and while his use of mise-en-scène is uncluttered by Tati standards, Iosseliani’s remarkable use of silence and overlapping action recalls Tati’s fascination with the soullessness of repetition and drudgery of middle-class living. If Vincent doesn’t make for a particularly memorable everyman, Iosseliani’s playful obsession with everyday events makes his hero’s trip to Italy that much more exceptional. This is where Monday Morning separates itself from Playtime: This life-affirming comedy actually contemplates our freedom from the machine.

Cast: Jacques Bidou, Anne Kravz-Tarnavsky, Narda Blanchet, Radslav Kinski, Dato Tarielashvili, Adrien Pachod, Pascal Chanal, Anna Lamour-Flori, Jérémy Rochigneux Director: Otar Iosseliani Screenwriter: Otar Iosseliani Running Time: 122 min Rating: NR Year: 2002 Buy: Video

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