The reedy, pipe-smoking Mr. Hulot spends a week’s vacation at a slightly battered seaside hotel, where he battles inanimate objects and thinks—long and hard—about flirting with a pretty girl. Jacques Tati’s 1953 masterpiece features some of the funniest and loveliest slapstick imaginable, yet it is also a work of impressive formal innovation, casting off the tyranny of a plotline in favor of loosely associated tones, episodes, and images. (Tati would find the visual correlative of this technique in his great 1968 Playtime.) The soundtrack, in which dialogue is subsumed by sound effects, is a masterful piece of musique concrete; Tati rerecorded and embellished it in 1961. In French with subtitles.