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Pierre Étaix: French Comedy Master

Director/actor Pierre Etaix is a treasure the cinematic world has rediscovered and embraced with relish. His work can be placed on the spectrum of classic physical comedy with that of Jacques Tati and Jerry Lewis, but it also stands alone in its good- natured delicacy. These films, influenced by Etaix’s experiences as a circus acrobat and clown and by the silent film comedies he adored, are elegantly deadpan, but as an on-screen presence, Etaix radiates warmth.  – Janus Films

“A master of screen comedy! He is every bit as worthy of praise and study as [Jacques] Tati, yet he is all but unknown today.” – Leonard Maltin

Learn more about Etaix and read an interview with the filmmaker here.

Past Films in This Series

 

The Suitor

Le soupirant

1962, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Pierre Étaix
Obsessed by his scientific research, a kindhearted young Parisian from a good family suddenly gives up studying the stars at his parents’ insistence and sets out to find a wife. Followed by Rupture  (Directed by Jean-Claude Carrière, Pierre Étaix, 1961, 11 min.) Short film about a spurned lover’s revenge.   more info
 

Yoyo

1965, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Pierre Étaix
This brilliant film follows the travels of a ruined millionaire (Pierre Étaix) and a horsewoman (Luce Klein) whose son becomes a clown. Claudine Auger also stars. more info
 

As Long As You're Healthy

Tant qu’on a la santé

1966, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Pierre Étaix
Pierre is a serious-minded young man with a lot of good will, but he doesn’t feel comfortable in the 20th century. Étaix’s third feature is comprised of sketches and is centered on a protagonist who undergoes different situations. Five years later, Étaix reedited the film as he had initially conceived it, dividing it into four distinct episodes. Followed by Feeling Good (En pleine forme) (1966/2010, 13 min.), a re-edited version of a sketch originally part of As Long As You’re ... more info
 

Land of Milk and Honey

Pays de cocagne

1971, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Pierre Étaix
Just after May 1968, Pierre Étaix discovers the French on holiday. He captures live scenes that he edits, producing a documentary with a burlesque construction. more info
 

Le Grand Amour

1969, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Pierre Étaix
Pierre is married to Florence. Everything is fine in their relationship and at work. Manager of his father-in-law’s factory Pierre spends his days signing checks and his evenings watching TV. The years pass, monotonously, until a young new secretary arrives and Pierre starts to fantasize about a different love life. Followed by Happy Anniversary (Heureux Anniversaire) (1962, 12 min.) about a woman holding dinner for her husband on their anniversary.   more info