Playtime was an urban installation and outdoor cinema, inspired by the Jacques Tati film Play Time (1967). The project’s design was the result of an open competition which called for proposals inspired by the film. The winning entry was ‘The Night Club’ – designed by Barnaby Bennett, Mark Leong and Nick Sargent. 

The cinema played various films by Jacques Tati including: Jour de Fete (1947), Play Time (1967), Mon Oncle (1958), Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953), Trafic (1971) and Parade (1974).

Tati is perhaps most famous for his films about Monsieur Hulot – a maladroit yet upbeat French gentleman played by the director himself. His films are marked by a spirit of curiosity and comic cultural commentary. His later works are set in a futuristic France of modernist glass, steel and rather unusual inventions. Iconic Parisian landmarks are frequently reduced to two-dimensional reflections in glass. Tati’s grandiose scheme for the set of his last major film, Play Time, involved the three-year construction of a vast mini-city (‘Tativille’) incorporating modern centrally-heated four-storey buildings, expansive portable architecture and functioning transport infrastructure.

The NZ/France Friendship fund generously provided funding for this project which included a design fee and materials budget for the winner and their design. This site was also used for other related events such as talks, workshops and performances.


Sat 17 March, 8pm – Grand opening / Playtime (1967, 126mins)
– introduced by Dr Jessica Halliday, architectural historian

Sun 18 March, 8pm – Jour de Fete (1948, 70mins)
introduced by Dr Ryan Reynolds, Lecturer Theatre and Film Studies, University of Canterbury


Thurs 22 March, 8pm – Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (1953, 114mins)
introduced by Julia Taylor, architectural graduate

Fri 23 March, 8pm – Mon Oncle (1958, 111mins)
introduced by John Chrisstoffels , Lecturer in Film in the School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury

Sat 24 March, 8pm– Trafic (1971, 96mins)
– introduced by Nick Paris, Alice in Videoland,  film enthusiast

– 7:30pm – Dr Ryan Reynolds, Barnaby Bennett, Daniele Abreu e Lima. Chaired by Dr Jessica Halliday.
– 8:30pm, Playtime (1967, 126mins).

Fri 30 March, 8pm – Parade (1974, 84mins)

The Competition Entries:

Hulot’s Cubicle_1,   Hulot’s Cubicle _2 (2 files for this one)

Umbrellas (PDF)

The Nightclub – This is the winning design.

Untitled (PDF)

H and T_Pavilion (PDF)

Monsieur Hulot’s Garden Party (PDF)

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