Amusing more than funny. But I remain utterly impressed that Étaix could make these pseudo silent films at all.

france, 1966, french


As Long as You’ve Got Your Health

This is probably a better film that I give it credit for. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, I did. But I’m in the middle of a pretty exhausting stretch of parenting right now and I’m not sure I picked the right moment for such a subtle film. I found it amusing and endearing, but not really all that funny. The first segment in particular was absolutely delightful, and then things went downhill, but so did my energy. Oh well. Movies are about the timing of watching them as much as anything else.

What this did spark was a question. Is there anyone working in movies today who is trying to do what folks like Étaix, Jacques Tati, or the original silent comedians like Chaplin, Lloyd, and Keaton were doing? Designing a film entirely around trying to setup clever comedic situations? I guess maybe someone like Judd Apatow is a modern version? Kind of? Not really.

It’s a real shame. These films are such a treasure, and as shown by Étaix and Tati, they don’t require a return to silent film. They just require someone to put the same level of effort into crafting humorous situations that Christopher Nolan puts into trippy camera effects or Michael Bay puts into blowing things up. You know what? I’m going to say Chris Farley was in the conversation for a modern-ish version of this.

It’s a shame. It’s a lost art. But then again, maybe I’m just not thinking of someone, or maybe I don’t know they exist. If anyone out there reading has any suggestions, let me know.