Tati’s 'Mr Hulot' and Chaplin’s 'Charlot' are two of a different kind.
Closely observed, Hulot seems to be an inside-out Charlot from every possible angle…
- pipe vs cigarette
- short pants vs way too big pants
- never centered, nor in the frame, nor storywise vs the center of all things going wrongfully
- umbrella vs cane stick
- leaning forward vs leaning backwards
- tall, mannered vs short, trampy
In an interview, Tati himself talked about how he had an inside out Chaplin in mind when creating Hulot.
“Hulot is the guy you recognize because he was in the same barracks as you, even though he never became a close friend. He gives you the illusion of familiarity, which really doesn’t exist. He develops into a real person only when you bump into him by accident one night… By creating Hulot, Tati aims to re-establish a distance. From the start, Hulot is someone who exists only in the eyes and mouths of the beholder. He is someone who awakens suspicion or amused attention… Hulot is a blurred man, a passer-by, a Hulotus errans.”