Pierre Étaix

Pierre Étaix – Le soupirant AKA The Suitor (1962)

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Pierre Etaix’s first feature introduces the droll humor and oddball charm of its unique writer-director-star. As a tribute to Buster Keaton, Etaix fashioned this lovable story of a privileged yet sheltered young man (played by Etaix himself, in a nearly silent performance) who, under pressure from his parents, sets out to find a young woman to marry—though he has a hard time tearing his mind away from the famous singer whose face decorates the walls of his bedroom. Read More »

Pierre Étaix – Yoyo (1965)

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A man has everything: dozens of servants, a palace, vast woods, gardens, a lake, mechanical toys, private entertainment troupes of musicians and dancers. He has it all – but love. When alone, he sits at a desk, sighing, and looking at a photograph of a pretty girl. One day, the circus descended onto his palace, and amidst all the fun it brought, he recognized the Amazon on the white horse – the girl in the photograph. The girl is now the mother of a small boy, Yo-Yo, whom she considers that looks like the millionaire, even under a clown’s make-up. Read More »

Pierre Étaix – En pleine forme AKA Feeling Good (2010)

‘Feeling Good,’ was originally one of the vignettes included in the director’s anthology feature ‘As Long as You’ve Got Your Health,’ but was later replaced with another short when Etaix was given the opportunity to re-work and re-release that film. In this comical misadventure, a man (Pierre Etaix) attempts to enjoy a camping trip out in the peaceful wilderness — but, as one might expect, he runs into a few issues, leading to a series of silly accidents. Eventually the man is forced into a satirically larger-than-life camping ground (fenced off like a prison) where he meets more bizarre characters and attempts to escape. Read More »

Pierre Étaix & Jean-Claude Carrière – Rupture (1961)

When picking up his mail, a man is excited to see a letter from his sweetheart. His excitement turns to sorrow when he gets home to his flat and sees that it is a Dear John letter. But that sorrow turns to anger as he figures that he will send her a Dear Jane letter in return. However, writing that letter isn’t as easy as he hopes as he encounters one problem after another, from a broken fountain pen, to a temperamental ink well, to stuck stamps, to a broken desk. Read More »

Pierre Étaix – En pleine forme AKA Healthy Holidays (2010)

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The most memorable gags in this short are the extended initial sequence where Étaix meticulously prepares himself a ‘spit’ of coffee and the sheer fact that, when he reaches the seemingly idyllic camping site eventually, he sees it is being run in a concentration camp fashion: in fact, at the very end, the protagonist has to tunnel his own way out of it! (by MARIO GAUCI) Read More »

Pierre Étaix – Pays de cocagne AKA Land of Milk and Honey (1971)

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Land of Milk and Honey is an absolute departure from Étaix’s narrative cinema. The 1971 documentary was made in the wake of the political and social upheaval that rocked France in May of 1968. The footage that the filmmaker gathered after these events took him the next couple of years to assemble, a plight jokingly referred to in the movie’s opening skit. It’s one of only two times that Étaix appears in front of the camera, and it’s a bit misleading as an intro. The entirely staged segment shows Étaix in discussion with himself, buried in a self-replicating pile of celluloid. We won’t see the star again until the very end of the film, when he amusingly asks his random interview subjects if they’ve ever heard of Pierre Étaix. Many haven’t, and the ones that do definitely have an opinion about what Étaix considers humor. The movie closes with Étaix taking a bow, having just performed a song and dance number in disguise. He exits the stage, and effectively exits cinema. Read More »