The End of
Mon oncle was always about houses, from the spotless and geometric Villa Arpel to Monsieur Hulot’s difficult to access flat. Tati took advantage of it being the first of Hulot’s films in colour to give the mansion a pop sensibility. The charm, though, was left to Hulot’s humble home, which the main character accessed after climbing up a set of stairs that were a real labyrinth.
GIFs, on the other hand, are about loops. They are moving images endlessly repeated, since when it looks like they are ending, they begin again. Maybe that’s the reason why Fray Mollo, author of the GIF I’m talking about, entitled it Jacques Tati ad nauseam. The fragment perfectly defines scene and space, with an army of Hulots multiplying non-stop, always with Tatis’ aloof and serious expression. There’s only one moment in which the character is seen alone, without any of his doubles: upstairs, when he’s about to open the door to his flat. The GIF is used too to bring Tati closer to the place he deserves, that of comedy that is as narrative as experimental.
The GIF takes delight in the loop, in the movements’ purest essence. In fact, this delight in making the loop visible seems a recurrent feature in all images published by Fray Mollo. In YouTube we can see a couple of videos based on Trafic (Tati again), in which the movement of the yellow vehicles becomes almost hypnotic; or a piece based on Twin Peaks, in which a car and its movement are multiplied, like Hulot in the GIF about Mon oncle. Images are manipulated, and the concept is exaggerated: both movement and objects and characters are repeated, cloned to show their redundancy. The idea reappears on the GIF that Mollo published about Solaris, taking advantage of the mere image of a car entering a tunnel to completely eliminate the meaning of beginning and end.