28 April 2009


Here's a quaint short film from the great French director Jacques Tati, made in 1947. According to the chap who posted it on Youtube;

"L'École des Facteurs" (English: "School for Postmen") is a short film directed by Jacques Tati in 1947. Tati plays a French postman adamant to prove he can be just as fast as American postmen at delivering mail. The film includes several sight gags that involve his bicycle. He replicated most of the action here in his first major feature film, "Jour de Fête", released two years later."
Part 1 is above. Part 2 is below.

Disclaimer: Safety nannies beware! There is graphic footage of cyclists falling. Not for fragile souls.

There is some footage of female cyclists in retro Copenhagen Cycle Chic style. Typically, as seen throughout bicycle history, they are portrayed as elegant, casual creatures, while the men are hapless and corny. This was seen on bicycle brand posters and in a slough of films and art.

"Bicycle posters flatter the liberated woman and her beauty and independence compliment the product's quality. In addition, the artwork shows how easy it is for the feminine sex to handle the bicycle, just as the women pictured are a testament to the femininity that isn't lost, but rather is increased, by cycling.

"The era's modern man, in sporty outfits, also features on bike posters but he is often given the role of the unlucky cyclist with a broken chain or a puncture. More often than not he rides behind the woman, who either overtakes him or is in front of the peloton.

"At the moment the concept of the Danish Cycle Girl was created, the bike poster visualised her more convincingly than any other medium."
Lars Dybdahl in "Den danske plakat" - The Danish Poster.


alKo zyAn said...

jacques tati rules...
if you're in paris, go see : http://www.cinematheque.fr/fr/expositions-cinema/tati/index/bienvenue.html
and check : http://alkorythm.blogspot.com/

JT said...

Absolutely loved the film! :D

portlandize.com said...

That's a fantastic film - I love the moment when his bicycle gets caught on the gate as he's trying to scramble over it, and the gate goes up and the woman on the bicycle rides calmly through the gate.

Not only is there footage of cyclists falling, they are hanging onto the tailgates of trucks and jumping over fences and all kinds of things. Clearly the cyclists of the world are in danger of extinction, as they've all but died off in the last 100 years from doing such a dangerous activity :)

Adrienne Johnson said...

Clearly the clumsy pedestrian and the priests should have been wearing helmets. Perhaps the cows, too ; )

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah...helmets for all! Adrienne, you forgot the instructor whose cranium is at risk from flying mail bags at the very beginning! I love the dancing scene, too - somewhere between Cab Calloway and Charlie Chaplin. Le Jazz Hot! Val

Amsterdamize said...

hahaha, now I know where Rowan Atkinson/Mr Bean 'borrowed' that bicycle vs peloton scene from!