Friday, March 2, 2007

Is Arsene Wenger the "My Uncle" of English football? - miro

Eleven reasons why legend-to-be football manager Arsene Wenger appears very much like legendary French film comic genius Jacques Tati:

1. Because JT and AW had and have been doing the same job.

2. Because JT’s early films evoke a world of unspoiled leisure: a France where gangly postmen deliver the mail on bicycles, where kids are always up to mischief, and where there is at least the illusion of community. Isn’t this a world AW experiences nowadays on the edge of a picturesque village called London Colney?
3. Because AW on the sideline often looks like the Mr. Bean of English football. Rowan Atkinson once noted that Tati’s characters had been a source of inspiration for the creation of the ‘British Mr. Bean’.

4. JT, just like AW, was never the type to chase after or flatter the audience.

5. Because JT’s famous movie My Uncle, like Arsenal, was seen in Britain as more annoying than funny.

6. In 1978, JT began filming a documentary on the Corsican football team, Forca Bastia, which he never completed - something which AW has been doing from 1996.

7. JT was an actor too, but nowhere near as good as a film director. AW did play football but not many were aware of that.

8. JT had recurring themes – the leisure class, modernization, children at play, mass entertainment – and his compositions seemed mathematically calculated yet somehow spontaneous and vibrant. Has AW been doing the same?

9. Because JT once built an entire glass and steel futuristic mini-city nicknamed Tativille, for the movie which took years to make and left him mired in debt. AW recently saw The Emirates finished too.

10. JT’s Playtime film, the epic of the modern world - just like the Arsenal side nowadays - happened to be the most thoroughgoing realization of mise-en-scene principles: everything is always in focus, and every square inch crackles with action.

11. Because JT was a victim of the future, which is what AW has yet to become.


andrewm said...

Tati - know the name, know nothing about him. That may have spoiled my enjoyment of this a little.

Still, I laughed at least twice - out loud - so I'm happy with it.

Thanks miro. Hope my editing was OK.

guitougoal said...

Miro, fantastic analogy, there is a lot to say, i Will come back later to more comments,Tati is, regarded as a charlie Chaplin of french cinema.. Since the relationship between football. and art was discussed on the blog yesterday , great timing. Both at least (W & T) are social phenomenom out of the box. Brilliant Miro.

pipita said...


Very amusing comparison. Also have to confess that Im pretty ignorant about JT. But from the combination of my knowledge of AW and general gut-feeling, Im in agreement with you on points 3,4,7 and 8; point 6 for me was the most ingenious but like the others I think they are more open for debate.

guitougoal said...

Sorry to come back again but this is so important, Miro just made a dreamy delivery:we probably will need an audience as last night bloggers as jackiechung on MARCELLA'S BLOG was trying to connect football and art.Miro, The idea about "your Uncle arsene WENGER' is brillant. Tati , in my view, is the most underrated cinematographer in the world .
Do you know, Tativille was his "kiss of death" because Playtime didn't work out, French cinema didn't give him any support at the time they were favorising the "Nouvelle Vague" cinema-That was one injustice that Tati could not survive
So hopefully this is not an Omen for The Arsene Wenger Emirates stadium.
There is one point I like to ad, its about : vision and sophitication- Both qualities they share....Thank you again Miro......I have done an Essai on Tati in the past a long time ago.
-Mon Oncle.
-jour de fete (his first one)
-les vacances de monsieur Hulot (his master piece)
-Trafic was his last wonderful piece on traffic

miro said...

Thanks for kind assistance. As guitougoal said, Tati was one of the most underrated film genius. What about Arsene, a football Mr Hulot?

MotM said...

miro sensei - more funny and inventive stuff. I would never have seen the parallel myself, but as soon as you made it, there it was!

Alexei Sayle mercilessly mocked Tati in the early Eighties - Lex must have really been given a hard time at Art School. Anyway, Lex could be Sir Alex, to Jacques' Arsene.

mimitig said...

Brilliant, brilliant. It's been bothering me for years just who AW makes me think of. Somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind, JT must have been lurking because as soon as I read this, I knew it to be true. Another of life's little mysteries solved!

marcela said...

thank you, miro.

a simple list (a narrative form so hard to pull off with any sense of depth), yet you manage to trigger a thousand thoughts, images and smiles with every line.

like pipita i was particularly struck by point 6:

it made me wonder...

what are the current circumstances of Forca Bastia? are they doing well in their league? what is the administration of the club like? do they have any star players?

if we were to try to connect Arsene with Bastia - what would be the most direct route?

why did tati abandon his film? did he manage to shoot anything? where is that footage now? who owns it? can it be viewed on-line?

a quick google search tells me he was filming corsecan mood prior to the european cup final against eindhoven that same year, and that his daughter completed the film which was released in 2002.

although there is a trailer available on the web i somehow can't manage to view it. but i found a good film blog which claims "there's much controversy among Tati buffs as whether this film is a legitimite Tati work"

i think it's very interesting you posted this here, miro, because i now also realise you have posted it as a comment on a thread before.

like a lot of your film related contributions, most responses to you picked up on the football content.

i enjoyed reading it here, particularly because the comments have responded to the tati angle.

and guitou, on the thread following my ricki villa piece, it was me who suggested football is art in the main artticle. again, hardly anyone commented on this until pedrinho entered towwards the end. there's some good ideas thrown in there, jackiechung merely refutes my suggestion that football can be equated with mathematics...

guitou, it's tati's centenary this year. can you share your essay with us?

miro, does it matter whether a contribution is the main blog or part of the comments that follow?

i find you share some of the qualities you identify in both tati and arsene: your compositions seem mathematically calculated yet spontaneus and vibrant. everything is always in focus, and every square inch crackles with action.

marcela said...

some bits of tobacco have scattered underneath keyboard. apologies for the double letters now and again...

olivier said...

offsidewithjacquestahiti said...

Football as art? Let's hear what Lilian Thuram has to say:

'Footballers can be like artists when the mind and body are working as one. It is what Miles Davis does when he plays free jazz - everything pulls together into one intense moment that is beautiful. He doesn't have to think about it; it's pure instinct."

(you can read the rest here:,,2023500,00.html )

Thuram played under the direction of Uncle Arsène at Monaco. A Miles Davis soundtrack for a Jacques Tati movie?

guitougoal said...

marcela, it was in french and too long,but, I don't mind to rewrite if someone translates.(offside?)
Miro ,clearly Tati's character including look (hat, pipe etc..) was more british than french.

Tweet it, digg it