Villa Arpel, Mon Oncle, tres-chicalore

film still, Mon Oncle

I do my best to not sound too much like a poseur on this blog. So when I talk about the French director, Jacques Tati and his incredible film, Mon Oncle, please know this is not to sound tres-chic and intellectual. One of the masterpieces of modernism exists only on film, and for a short time, as a recreation at Le 104 Centquatre (104 rue d'Aubervilliers 75019 Paris). Jacques Tati is sort of the French Charlie Chaplin, visual gags and the running theme of an ordinary man overcome by modern life. All of his films are magnificent visual feasts, but the hard core minimalist will swoon over the house in Mon Oncle. Jean Paul Gaultier used Mon Oncle as an inspiration for one season’s collection and runway show. It is remarkably cold and unlivable, but oh so beautiful. The modern gadgets all seem to somehow cause chaos that the urbane characters insist on ignoring. Only the Jacques Tati character and his nephew are innocent and pas prétentieux (“not pretensious” for those less continental than me). They prefer the older Paris without modern contraptions and messy living. But as designers, we all pine for the rigid multi-colored rocks of the house that is the star of the film.

Villa Arpel recreation

Villa Arpel, Mon Oncle

Villa Arpel, Mon Oncle

Villa Arpel, Mon Oncle

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