Jacques Tati and Champel star in KEEP YOUR LEFT UP (Soigne ton gauche), directed by René Clément.

Keep Your Left Up (1936, René Clément)

Keep Your Left Up is a genial little short set in a small French country town. The arrival of the postman sets off the short, which eventually has local do-nothing Jacques Tati in the ring against boxer Louis Robur.

The charm comes mostly from the setting, Clément’s excellent composition and Jean Yatove’s oddly mismatched score. Left doesn’t have any ambient sound when the music plays; just Yatove’s music and the occasional line of dialogue or sound effect gives the short a detached quality. But detached in a charming way (it’s hard to fault anything technical with the film–Clément’s composition would make up for anything).

Tati’s appealing as the lead, but he doesn’t have much to do. He handles the physical comedy fine, though a lot of it seems to be through the editing.

Only real problem? The continuity gaffes. They’re distracting. Otherwise, Left amuses all the way through.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Réne Clément; written by Jean-Marie Huard; music by Jean Yatove; produced by Fred Orain.

Starring Jacques Tati (Roger), Max Martel (Postman), Louis Robur (Boxer), Jean Aurel (Kid), Champel (Manager) and Van der Haegen (Sparring Partner).


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