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Film / Gai dimanche!

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Gai dimanche! ("Fun Sunday!") is a 1935 short film (21 minutes), directed by Jacques Berr, co-written by and co-starring Jacques Tati.

Two unnamed bums (Jacques Tati and a comedian named Rhum) are thrown out of a subway station where they were apparently sleeping. Looking for a way to get some cash, they acquire an open-air bus and put out a sign advertising a day trip out to the country to see "the chateau". They scam some unwitting tourists into their bus and make their way into the country, only to prove themselves comically inept tour guides.

Surprisingly similar to the sort of silent comedy that Tati would become famous for nearly 20 years later with Mr. Hulot's Holiday.


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Tropes:

  • The Alleged Car: The bus that our heroes acquire turns out to be a rattling old jalopy. The radiator hisses steam, the horn sounds spontaneously, and when one customer jumps into the bus he goes right through the floor with his feet hitting the ground. Finally, the car stalls out—on the railroad tracks.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Rhum is rather short while Tati is a large and physically imposing man. Naturally Rhum seems to be the one in charge (he's the actual tour guide, while Tati drives the bus).
  • Clucking Funny: Tati and Rhum, improvising, park the bus at a cafe so they can give their customers the promised lunch. Unfortunately, the chicken escapes. An entire comic sequence ensues as first Tati and Rhum, and then all their customers, run this way and that chasing the chicken, which eventually escapes.
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  • Dodgy Toupee: The chase after the chicken ends for one man with his toupee having flopped over, just barely hanging to his head by one edge.
  • Excited Show Title!: Gai dimanche!
  • Low Clearance: One tourist runs right into a tree branch while chasing the chicken and knocks himself senseless.
  • Nameless Narrative: No names given for any characters.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: The car is blasted to bits by a train. The short ends with Tati, Rhum, and their party conducting a tour on foot, in the same formation that they were in inside the car, Tati still holding the steering wheel. The movie ends with the two bums and the tourists walking away down the road.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: Where does the bus stall out? On the railroad tracks, of course. Tati, Rhum, and hteir customers just barely escape before an oncoming train totally destroys the car.
  • Slapstick: A fair amount of this, like in the scene where Tati and Rhum try to hoist an obese woman into the rear set of their bus. After trying various ideas, like Rhum letting the fat lady step on him or Tati and Rhum each pushing up one buttock, they give up, confiscate her ticket, and give it to a small man.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: As Rhum points out the attractions of the village, the names of the various buildings he describes are censored by a sort of kazoo squawk.

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