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Playtime (1967) Film screening and discussion

City Films
Film still from Playtime

Arnolfini  |  £8.50 / £6 (or £20 / £15 day pass)

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Jacques Tati’s gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in an age of high technology reached their apotheosis with his 1967 film Playtime.

For this monumental achievement, a nearly three-year-long, bank-breaking production, Tati again thrust the lovably old-fashioned Monsieur Hulot, along with a host of other lost souls, into a baffling modern Parisian world.

With every inch of its super wide frame crammed with hilarity and inventiveness, Playtime is a lasting record of a modern era tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion.

Introduced by Matthew Sweet (BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking). Following the screening, Sweet, Catherine Wheatley (Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London) and Bristol Ideas director Andrew Kelly will discuss Tati’s legacy.

Director: Jacques Tati
Starring: Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, Jacqueline Lecomte, Valérie Camille
U / France / 124 mins

This programme is part of Opening Up the Magic Box, a heritage element of Film 2021 which marks the centenary of the death of Bristol-born film pioneer William Friese-Greene and the 125th anniversary of the first public cinema screening in Bristol, which took place at the Tivoli on 8 June 1896, as well as celebrating Bristol – a UNESCO City of Film since 2017. It is generously funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Tati Day is also part of Future City Film Festival. The festival normally takes place every two years in the autumn but had to be postponed last year due to the pandemic. It will now run through 2022 as a series of special events. We are grateful to the British Film Institute for their support for the festival. 

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Presented in partnership with

Matthew Sweet is author of Inventing the Victorians, Shepperton Babylon, The West End Front and Operation Chaos. He presents Free Thinking and Sound of Cinema on BBC Radio 3 and The Philosopher’s Arms on BBC Radio 4. He has judged the Costa Book Award, edited The Woman in White for Penguin Classics and was Series Consultant on the Showtime/Sky Atlantic series Penny Dreadful. His fashion history column, The Line of Beauty, appears in 1843 magazine. Follow him on Twitter @DrMatthewSweet

Catherine Wheatley is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London. She is the author of Stanley Cavell and Film: Scepticism and Self-Reliance at the Cinema (2019), Michael Haneke’s Cinema: The Ethic of the Image (2009), and Caché (2011). With Lucy Mazdon, she co-authored Sex, Art and Cinephilia: French Cinema in Britain (2013) and co-edited Je t’aime, moi non plus: Anglo-French Cinematic Relations (2010). Before joining King’s in 2011, she worked as a Research Associate on a four-year AHRC project based out of Southampton University, looking at the history of French cinema in Britain, and then as a Lecturer in Screen and Media Studies at the University of East London. Follow her on Twitter @CateWheatley

Booking Information

To keep everyone safe, we respectfully ask ticket holders to wear masks during the event. Please stay home if you’re experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 (these are listed on the NHS website) or if you’ve recently been in contact with someone who has the virus. 

Ticket booking is via Eventbrite. Please note that Eventbrite is a third-party service that is not owned or managed by Bristol Ideas. Please review Eventbrite’s terms and conditions and Privacy Policy as we do not accept any responsibility or liability for the policies. You can read Bristol Ideas’ Privacy policy here.

Tickets are £8.50 full price / £6.00 concessions. A day pass to all three Tati Day films is available and costs £20.00 full price / £15.00 concessions. CONCESSIONS apply to Full Time Students, Job Seekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit claimants, over 60s and disabled people. Please note that you will be asked of proof for your eligibility of a concession.

One free carer ticket can be provided for each paying disabled visitor, please contact us before booking to arrange.

We only refund tickets if the event is cancelled. If the event online has to move online your ticket is automatically transferred or you can request a refund. Events start punctually and, out of consideration to other audience members and speakers, our policy is not to admit or issue refunds to latecomers. Full Terms and Conditions here.


One free carer ticket can be provided for each paying disabled visitor, please contact us before booking to arrange.

  • Within Arnolfini there are lifts to all floors and level access to all public spaces.
  • There are two designated Blue Badge parking spaces within easy reach of Arnolfini in the Mud Dock City Docks car park, accessed via The Grove Car Park. There are also five spaces in The Grove Car Park. Parking in the accessible blue badge spaces are free, and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • There are toilets for public use.
  • Guide and assistance dogs are welcome.

If you have any accessibility requirements, please contact Arnolfini in advance so the team can assist you in your visit. More information about Arnolfini can be found on Arnolfini’s website and on AccessAble.

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