Jacques Tati Confusion movie - Sparks Big Beat album

Jacques Tati Confusion film - Sparks Big Beat album
Jacques Tati & Sparks talking about "Confusion"
But unfortunately the Confusion project failed...
One of the greatest film collaborations that never happened : Sparks were supposed to be in famous French director Jacques Tati's unfinished film, "Confusion". Jacques Tati planned in 1974 to make the movie with Ron Mael & Russell Mael as the main actors.

Russell Mael : "We were discussing with a guy from Island Records in Europe fun things to do that weren't involved with being in a rock band and how to just kind of expand the whole thing… JacquesTati's name was brought up and we just kind of laughed it off.
Anyway, he approached Jacques Tati and somehow got him to come meet us. Jacques Tati didn't know anything about Sparks because he was 67 years old and doesn't listen to rock music."

Concerning with "Confusion" we get that Jacques Tati toyed with the idea of Mr Hulot being killed, by accident, in the opening reel - a prop gun at a TV station is replaced with a real one - as an opening gag. Jacques Tati wanted to describe in "Confusion" the same world as in "Playtime", a futuristic city where activity is centered around pictures and communication, advertising and television. Monsieur Hulot is gone, and a young man is starting his job at "La Com" working on ads and TV programs to modify them, enhance their message.
Ron Mael : "We were to be in Tati's film Confusion, a story of two American TV studio employees brought to a rural French TV company to help them out with some American technical expertise and input into how TV really is done. Unfortunately due to Tati's declining health and ultimate death, the film didn't get met."

The movie was a visionary project : Jacques Tati's goal was not to make us laugh like in his early works, but to make us think about our obsessions with (moving) pictures, office work, television, communication and political messages. This could have been his greatest movie, but already, in the script form it was an amazingly creative and fascinating project. It is a shame that the film never got made. Sparks miss Jacques Tati's vision. The project mainly failed because of Jacques Tati's bankruptcy and Sparks instead appeared in performance in the 1977 blockbuster motion picture "Rollercoaster". - read more...

"Confusion" project was definitely aborted when Jacques Tati died from a pulmonary embolism, on 5th November 1982 in Paris... However the script of "Confusion" does exist and Sparks' "Big Beat" album features the song "Confusion" (...Confusion, la tati...) which was inspired by the Jacques Tati's project. Russell Mael : "The biggest disappointment of our career ? Not making the film with Jacques Tati..."

Jacques Tati Confusion - Sparks album Big Beat
Monsieur Hulot
Jacques Tati 1908-1972

Jacques Tatischeff was born in 1908 at Pecq in France. From 1932 to 1938 he tried his hand in film as a screenplay writer and actor in short films. After World War II, in 1947, Jacques Tati created in "L'École Des Facteurs", the character of François the Postman who we meet again in 1949 in "Jour de Fête" which establishes the permanence of JacquesTati's comic formula.
Jacques Tati went on to invent for "Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot" the picturesque, awkward and optimistic character that he will forever be associated with. In 1958, "Mon Oncle" won the Oscar at Hollywood for best foreign film. Jacques Tati's next film was not until 1970, "Playtime", screened at Cannes and was about post-industrial society. Unfortunately the film was not the commercial success that was hoped for, and the future work of the director was compromised.
In 1972, "Trafic" dealed with the alienating mythology of the automobile. Jacques Tati's last film, "Parade" was shot in Stockholm in 1974 on mobile video. It is a variety show in which Mr Hulot becomes Monsieur Loyal. Jacques Tati's final script "Confusion", with Sparks, was never produced. Jacques Tati died on 5th November 1982 in Paris.

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