Evening Class (1967) - full transcript

Jacques Tati teaches an acting class about the subtleties of certain types of people to a group of eager (but not very talented) students.


We'll discuss that example
at the end of class.


Page 80.


Lesson 12.

On this page we find...


What does observation
mean to you?

Observation is...

seeing what's going on.


What about you?

Observation is what allows us

to discover the nature
of certain personalities.

Very good.
That's one definition.

This discovery allows us
to spotlight the behavior

of each and every individual.

Multiple types of behavior,

The first example today
will be the case

of the smoker.

First, the businessman.

The society lady.

She generally doesn't smoke.

Her cigarette floats around the room,
keeping her index finger active.

On the other hand,
with the democratic smoker,

the thumb intervenes.

Note that the other fingers
aren't left out.

To this third example
we'll add this familiar gesture.

This common habit
can constitute

a serious faux pas
at an official gathering.

Third paragraph:

the beginner.

You think it's funny?

Would you demonstrate
the beginner for me?

And you?

And you?

Come now.
You're not being observant!

One would think
you'd smoked your whole life.

I asked for the beginner.

It's easy.
Practice that at home.

A very interesting
and special case...

is found in paragraph five:
the functional cigarette.

This is mostly used
by intellectuals,

artists, and surgeons.

It mustn't get in the way.
It's just there.

They don't worry about it,
or ashtrays either.

You'll notice

that the smoke, as it rises,
often gets in the eyes.

One eye closes.

Is he reflecting? Inventing?
Who knows?


when half smoked,

it's left dangling from the lip.

Completely forgotten.

It serves no purpose.

The brain alone
continues to function.

The cigarette becomes useless.

Okay, you've grasped that.
Let's move on.

Let's take a look
at paragraph eight:

the first cigarette
of the morning.

In theory
it's the best one...

and the worst.

The rest will be
more easily enjoyed.

The last paragraph -
excuse me -

leads us quite naturally

to the smoker
who's given up smoking.


“Cigarette, my friend?”

“No, thanks.
I don't smoke anymore.”

Let's move on...

to page 80,
where we find “sports.”

First paragraph: tennis.

If you'd follow me.

The first challenge
for the tennis player

is to find his assigned court.

A wall is indispensable
for warming up beforehand.

This sport is played

with a racquet and balls.

Before serving,

check the quality of the ball.

If the first ball
doesn't clear the net,

check the quality
of the second ball.

The slightest error on the player's part
is blamed on the racquet.

A few special movements
will correct

for the errors caused
by the equipment.

Gentlemen, you've observed
a champion's mannerisms.

Now let's examine
the challenges facing a beginner.

Per the rules of the game,
his first concern

is to find the serving line.

One of the difficulties
in tennis

is the ball-to-racquet contact.

Hesitation is a sure sign
of the beginner.

A lack of reflexes
often translates into anger.

Upon seeing the court,
these shortcomings are forgotten,

and he checks his appearance
before facing his opponent.

Gentlemen, if you'll kindly
return to your seats,

you'll find on page 88,
paragraph two,


What does this very relaxing sport
mean to you?

- Tranquility.
- Good. What about you?


Not bad. And you?

Peace and quiet.

And you?


- What?
- Fish.

Not always.

let's see how it's done.

Gentlemen, please.

You'll find on page 90 -
I repeat, page 90 -

in the paragraph
regarding the postal service,

the practical and physical training
of the postman.


Gentlemen, on my command.


Mount your cycles.

One, two.

Prepare for right turn... right!

Good. Left turn... left!

Very good.

You're pedaling
at normal speed for a letter.

Attention, gentlemen.


Catch your breath.

A vehicle passes you
on the right.


On the left.


Attention, gentlemen.

From head-on.

To get your feet
back on the ground, dismount.

Look sharp! Attention!

Bicycle to hip, one... two.

Bag to belly.
Retrieve letter.

Extend letter,
one, two, three, four.


Bicycle to hip, one... two.

Bag to belly.
Retrieve letter.

Extend letter,
one, two, three, four.

folks offer us a drink.

You got some nerve.

You never...?


Facial expressions.
Step forward, one, two.

A postman must rely
on more than his legs.

Facial expressions
are also very important.

First example: a postcard.

A brochure.


for a wedding announcement.

A birth announcement.

A money order.

An expression...

for a death announcement.


Prepare for signature:

ballpoint pen!

With a real ballpoint,
there's no need for the “pffutt”!

That's only for a pencil.

Attention, gentlemen.
For form 1910, modified in 1960...


I'm lost without a pencil!

I can't do it!

Step back, one, two.

Bicycle, left!

Good. Gentlemen,
following that demonstration,

we have a new sport:
horseback riding.

Here we'll observe the heading
of the next paragraph in action:

“How to Hold
the Reins of Your Profession.”

Let's begin with the horseman.

After a few years of training...

and now in his final year...

he can still have
lapses of memory.

For the riding master,
elegance is of crucial importance.

Let's look at his first pupil...

the office worker.

And now at a trot.

The CEO.

His general manager.

The society lady.

She only pursues this sport

so she can tell her friend
that she rides horses.

An impetuous tap with the crop.

The riding master
sets the example

and teaches his pupils
that the essential skill for a rider

is to control his mount.

We'll overlook that poor example.

And here's a very special case:

Old habits die hard
for the motorcyclist.

Not everyone heeds
the riding master when he asserts

that the horse
is man's greatest conquest.

Such vitality
is not always appropriate.

More often than not,
the horse takes

the initiative.

The rider rarely achieves
complete mastery.

To conclude, gentlemen:

While on horseback,
goodwill is not enough.

Let's continue
our practical training

and examine
how to trip over a step.

I demonstrated this for you
at the beginning of class.

Quite unintentionally,
I might add.

The move.

With that example as your guide,
please demonstrate.

Take your time. Think.
Now go ahead.

We clearly need to review
the facts of the problem.

Siegler, to the board.

Given that a man's legs measure
about three feet in length

and that he generally employs
a 30-degree angle as he walks,

we must calculate
the length of his stride.

Here it's equal to the tangent,
or about two feet.

Given also that
the distance between Point A

and point B,
where the foot contacts the step,

equals six feet,

it's clear that the strides
needed to reach the step

equal six feet
divided by two feet,

or three strides.

Go ahead.

For a 30-degree angle,
with a tangent of 60,

that means two steps.

Six feet, three steps.

Six feet and 60.

That's not what I asked for.
It's easy!

You're not paying attention.
Now then...

we've just studied
how one misses a step.

Now let's look

at how one fails
to miss a column.

A rather delicate matter,
I must say.


Your turn.


Your shoulder...


Back to the board.

Given the average
individual's stride -

- You're forgetting something.
- What?

Shoe size.

Given that the average
individual's shoe size is 9,

by dividing stride length
by shoe size

we can calculate
the strides necessary

to reach the point of impact
with the column.

Very good.

Now to apply it.
Go on.

Shoe size?
- Nine.


Go on.

- Size 10.
- Size 10?

Go ahead.

The belly...

What's that?

Your turn.

Shoe size?
- Seven.

What about the column?

Come now.
Make an effort!

It's easy!
You can see the distance.


Class dismissed.

Class is over.
Let me have those.

For homework,
practice everywhere you can.

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