One of the most exciting programs at the Dryden Theatre this month is the currently ongoing series focusing on the comedic films of French director, Pierre taix. Having directed only five films and a small number of shorts, the director has remained one of the lesser-known filmmakers of the French New Wave. taix's films have faded into relative obscurity over the years, sadly unseen since their release due to legal tangles. But having recently undergone an intensive restoration process, the films have been screening in art houses across the country before being released next month in a snazzy Criterion box set.
The second film to be screened as part of the Dryden series, and definitely the highlight, "Yoyo" is a delightfully elaborate homage to silent-film comedies, à la 2011's "The Artist." Drawing on taix's own background as a circus clown, the film tells an epic decade-spanning story of a jazz-age millionaire (played by taix), the circus performer he's fallen in love with, and their son (also taix), who grows up to be a famous clown himself. taix's film may be light on dialogue, but it's heavy on inventively silly sight gags, physical comedy and is filled with boundless joy.
"Yoyo" is preceded by taix's charming short film, "Happy Anniversary," in which a husband is determined to make it home on time for an anniversary dinner with his wife, despite facing several unexpected setbacks.