French Mid-Century Modern and French Film: Mon Oncle

Happy Bastille Day! To celebrate France, here's a "retro movie review" I wrote a few years ago about a French 50's film called "Mon Oncle." This movie a must-see for anyone who loves mid-century modern design.

Mon Oncle, a film by Jacques Tati, is a satirical view of modern life in the 1950's. It was filmed in the late 50's, and even though it focuses on 50s life, it has a timeless quality to it. Perhaps that is because the perception that ultra modern living is sterile and cold still exists among many people today.

 

It doesn't have to be that way, of course. But, this movie is a funny glimpse at when modern life IS too sterile and over the top. Mon Oncle (My Uncle) is the uncle of a boy who lives with his parents in an incredible 50's modern dream home. The family is used to their modern lifestyle, but everything is new, different (and even strange) to the old fashioned uncle who visits.

 

The uncle goes into the kitchen to get some water. The empty plastic water pitcher accidentally slips out of his hands and it bounces off the hard floor. Amused by this, he grabs a drinking glass and drops it to see it bounce too. The drinking glass shatters all over the floor instead.

 

The uncle had never experienced kitchen plastics before, so he assumed that since the pitcher bounced off the floor, the drinking glass would too. The drinking glass would have bounced - if it had been made of plastic instead of glass.

 

Experience modern living through the eyes of Mon Oncle. It's a great opportunity to see 50's modern decor, some incredible chairs, a fabulous fish fountain, and the perfect sterile kitchen. Follow him to the plastic factory to see the funny little messes he gets himself into. It's not the kind of movie where you laugh so hard that you can't breathe, although you will indeed laugh. It's the kind of movie where you find yourself smiling at the uncle the whole time, feeling his amusement with him.

 

 Thank you to  for posting this clip of Mon Oncle on YouTube. I was very excited to find the kitchen scene I had written about years ago! 

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