Mon Oncle (1958). This is one of the Hulot films by Jacques Tati and well, it is just so French. Imagine a film halfway along the evolutionary timeline between Renoir's La Règle du Jeu and Buñuel's Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie, though it's less concerned with plot than the former and less, well, surreal than the latter. It's all about the whimsical setup, the parodies of social mores, the elaborate Buster Keaton-ish sight gags, the infectious little banjo/accordion theme that runs through almost the entire film. Jean-Pierre Jeunet certainly took a page or two from this book. I'm not sure exactly when the Marshall Plan finished up with France, but that reconstruction and the attendant social change must have weighed heavily on Tati's mind. The film divides its time between two utterly distinct worlds: on the one hand, a quaint pre-industrial France of cafés and crullers and bands of itinerant children; on the other, a sterile modern France of white plastic, brushed aluminum, choreographed cars, and hideous home accessories of all sorts. Hulot, with his ever-present pipe and bicycle and umbrella, is the familiar spirit of the old France and much of the film's humor lies in his inability to negotiate the new; he unsuccessfully battles the automatic doors of the kitchen cabinet, breaks the ludicrous modernist fish fountain, and accidentally sets his brother-in-law's plastic hose factory to spewing out plastic sausage links. There are also many funny scenes involving dogs.