acques Tati, master of his own idiosyncratic genre of cinematic slapstick, followed up his acclaimed debut JOUR DE FETE with the equally ingenious M. HULOT'S HOLIDAY (LES VACANCES DE MONSIEUR HULOT). Five years in the making, the film marks the debut of Tati's altar ego, Mr. Hulot, a gangly and awkward Frenchman, perpetually the center and possible cause of a whirlwind of disasters, pratfalls, and mishaps. Tati's scrupulous attention to detail and almost arabesque sense of humor colours the entire film, from the departure of a gaggle of tourists from a malfunctioning train station to the minutiae of resort life. In place of a plot, a series of disastrous coincidences, surreal sight gags and irascible indignations erupt around Mr. Hulot as he gallantly and obliviously strolls through his seaside vacation. While he tries to impress a lovely ingenue, Hulot inadvertently barges in on a funeral, ignites a fireworks stand with his pipe, and topples a Ming vase, rarely realising the extent of the damage he causes. Tati expertly crafts the visual bombast of traditional slapstick into a beautiful and intricate sequence of incidents, accompanied by an equally elegant and intriguing seaside soundtrack of lapping waves, laughing children and transistor radios, all merging into an absurd symphony of cinematic delight.