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4.5 out of 5 stars28
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on 19 January 2010
Jacques Tati's final outing as Monsieur Hulot - the amiable, accident-prone and unfailingly courteous exile from a more graceful era of unhurried old-world charm - sees him employed as a draughtsman in a car firm whose newest model, an absurdly multi-gadgeted camper-van, is destined for the Internationale Autoshow in Amsterdam. Hulot, along with pressed Public Relations lady Maria and bobble-hatted truck driver Marcel, set out for the show, but breakdowns, accidents and extended garage stays ensure that they will never arrive in time, leaving salesman François to guard their empty stand of fake birch trees, while all around him, men peer into the bonnets and boots of competitors' cars.

Beginning with the dull clang, spark, burnish, buzz and hum of an industrial car plant, this satire on man's obsession with motorised transport, and the change people undergo as soon as they get behind the wheel of a car, has wonderful observational comedy at its heart. As ever with Tati, this is sometimes of such subtlety that repeated viewings are richly repayed. The set-pieces are famous - the extravagant, injury-free pile-up, the windscreen wipers acting in character with their drivers - but it's the smaller, easily missable details that give Tati's universe its character: details such as barely visible car aerials wobbling in time while waiting at a light, or Maria's dog simply watching traffic from her car.

If the surge and blare of road noise that occupies the soundtrack screws the humour up to a level that is coarser than in previous Tati films, then its central theme of Hulot looking for a little human warmth and respite from technology is familiar. He finds it in an extended stay at a riverside garage where the characters apparently forget about reaching the Autoshow altogether, settling down instead to a good picnic, and thus putting the camper-van to its use.

At the end, Hulot disappears - how else? - into a crowd of unfurled umbrellas, leaving pedestrians to squeeze their way through an immense parking lot of boxed-in cars, and viewers to continue Tati's work of seeing the world anew.
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on 22 August 2011
I have watched "Trafic" probably 20 or more times over the years - each time I see something I missed before. Every frame is full of easily missed deliberate diversions that you can't help looking for. Like all Jacques Tati films it is mesmerising - his subtle and not so subtle observations about human nature and the sheer brilliance of his directing make this a "must see" for lovers of comedy and farce. M Hulot is a cross between Mr Bean, Charlie Chaplin and Lucille Ball and better than all three. My favourite scene is "the crash".
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on 23 August 2011
Having been an avid fan of Jacques Tati's work for a number of years now I cannot figure out why this gem of a movie does not seem to be available with any of the box sets around. For those of you who, like me, wish to own all his works buy this now - you will not be disappointed at the combination of timeless slapstick in a class of its own and that special Monsieur Hulot surrealism. Trafic and Playtime watched in close succession make for such wonderful viewing and should be compared to the classics.
Viva Jacques!
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on 1 September 2013
I have been waiting Years! at last this is on CD. Watched this when it first came out and nearly died laughing. It is still funny, quite as much as I remembered. Tati is the master of understated mishap humour. He looks daft to start with. The slightly too short trousers and Mac are his trademark without being totally crazy - I hate comics who have to have silly voices and outrageously stupid clothes to get a laugh - give me intelligent humour any time. John Cleese has an air of Tati about him.
The road trip has very cliche you can think of, and you would be so disappointed if they were not there. Nothing is ever exaggerated or pointed at - you have to see and discover it yourself. This is the complete opposite of american humour when the comic looks at the audience and waits for the laugh(even if the joke is not funny). Tati lets you see the joke and absorb it at your own pace. Blink and you may miss it - wind it back and enjoy it again. This is my favourite Tati film, even if it was not the Critic's favourite.

It's a simple story: take a camper van from France to a motor show across the border. What could go wrong - lots!

This is almost a silent movie - it does have words, mostly French, but there are subtitles. The words don't matter. Its the tone of voice and hand gestures that tell the story - the words are only there because people do speak; you don't need to know what is being said because it is so clever, you can see the meaning.

There are several things to keep an eye out for. Watch the little dog; its a film within a film. Watch the Free gifts with petrol. (I remember sets of tumblers being the UK giveaway of the same time period) Watch for the lady's fashion accessories, and keep an eye on the boy at the motor show. Be especially vigilant with the customs officers.
There are more Gems for you to find, but they are for you to find.

I watched this with my 19 year old son, who rarely even so much as smirks at old films and he was laughing! Good humour stays good!
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on 18 July 2012
I bought this for my dad on his birthday because he loves all of the old black and white comedy films so I thought that this was great he likes that its in french or german and it came before his birthday which was not the predicted date of delivery. :)
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on 25 August 2013
Having purchased, and enjoyed multiple times, both 'Les Vacances' and 'Mon Oncle' I purchased 'Jour de Fete' and 'Traffic' to make up my collection of Tati films. I regret that I found neither as hysterically funny as the other two.
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on 2 August 2013
Quick delivery and first class DVD. l bought this film for my husband who loves all Jacques Tati films, he did not know this one was released so it was a complete surprise for him. Anybody who likes this star should not miss it.
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on 24 September 2013
So sad that Tati lost all his wealth making the previous film Playtime. He had less control of this film, but the effort is most commendable indeed.
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on 8 August 2013
You cannot go wrong with Jacque Tati whatever your age. Buy it now. Again the space wants more words. That seems to have done the trick.
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on 9 July 2014
Fantastic - I just love all Jacques Tati films. A must-see for anyone with a sense of humour. The more you watch it, the more you see.
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