Parade (1974)

parade poster 1974 movie tati
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Meant to be light and fun

No plot and little direction

Movie Info

Movie Name: Parade

Studio:  Gray-Film

Genre(s): Family/Documentary/Comedy

Release Date(s):  May 12, 1974 (Cannes)/December 18, 1974 (France)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

parade jacques tati boxing mime

Being a mime means sometimes taking your lumps

Jacques Tati is giving a performance and everyone is invited.  With a circus atmosphere, jugglers, clowns, and performers from all around are taking the stage and showing their tricks and trades.  With the audience joining in, the circus will come to life…and Jacques is the ringmaster that everyone needs.

Written and directed by Jacques Tati, Parade is a comedy documentary blend.  Following Tati’s Trafic in 1971, the movie was shot for television, but screened at Cannes.  The Criterion Collection released the film (Criterion #731) as part of The Complete Jacque Tati collection (Criterion #729).

Parade isn’t considered Tati’s greatest film and many seem to consider it a minor film.  I guess it shouldn’t have been my introduction to Jacques Tati, but sometimes things like that just happen.  While I didn’t love Parade, I understand what Tati was doing and what Parade was attempting to accomplish…and it succeeds in what I perceive Tati’s goal was.

parade jacques tati workers

Sometimes the peanut gallery has to show off

Parade is meant to be just fun.  There are paintings of people with broad smiles riding rides at fairs and attending circus performances and that feels like what Parade is making in real life.  The film has a light script in it (there is some focus on a few audience members including a young girl and a somewhat bored boy).  There is also a magician in the audience, and a man who really wants to get involved in the circus…like it has awakened a child in him.  Parade is about joy and laughter.

Jacques Tati breaks up the performances of Parade by using himself as a quasi-ringmaster.  Rather than introducing the acts, he comes out and performs while the groups switch out.  Tati has a lot of life in his performances and some classic mime/clown actions (though he isn’t in make-up like someone like Marcel Marceau).  Much of the audience performers are over-actors but the circus performers on stage are sometimes pretty impressive (the jugglers always wow me).

parade song jacques tati

Come enjoy the parade!

Visually, the movie takes the idea of a fun happy circus and tries to present that.  It is bright and colorful and full of music and motion.  Circuses are very visuals, but they also incorporate smell and sounds…something that doesn’t necessarily come across on TV.  I particularly like looking at the fashions of the people in the audience with very 1970s Euro hippie styles.

Parade isn’t very complex nor is it very deep.  It is a romp.  I’m not a huge fan of circuses, clowns, or pratfalls, but often circuses do have things that a person does like even if they don’t like all the acts.  Tati ended his career with Parade but had planned to make a few other films.  A script called Confusion was written but never filmed and a film catalogued as Film Tati No 4 was later turned into the animated feature The Illusionist.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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