The soundtrack in Mon Oncle alluded to the discordant tension between Paris and the consumer society mandated to take it over following an effort to rebuild post-war Europe. The abrupt pace at which the Marshall Plan transfigured France was truly remarkable, but side effects of speed displayed technology from society’s ability to adapt to it.
Pleasant melody was juxtaposed against metallic noises amidst futile dialogues as Tati edited shots across traditional Paris and its plastic counterparts. War had vegetated the past and bandaged scars with a mechanic continuity of pavement arrow markings. Music only existed when complete machination was either interrupted or replaced by a more natural setting. Mr. Hulot’s out-of-place horse carriage for example---brought life to a factory as workers hopped on one after another to escape their highly uncomfortable, artificial work environment for a reality that resembled more closely to what they had known.
In fact, Mr. Hulot---played by Tati himself---was the most obvious anomaly in the film, though he clearly resonated with many audience members who identified with him in not identifying with the new plastic order. His inability to function around the futuristic villa Arpel was echoed by the absence of a musical theme, as if the entire package went on strike alongside Mr. Hulot.
The stark contrast between M. Hulot’s run-down city district and the ultra-modern genre where the Arpels lived was encapsulated by a changing film score. While the former featured a jolly and carefree tone, the latter hosted unperfected dialogues. Materialism as manifested through the Arpel villa deafened life, as cacophonous house appliances squeezed out the potential for music. In the same logic, M. and Mme. Arpel were too busy impressing their guests---at the expense of daily practicality---to account for the happiness of their son Gérald who as a result, hung with Mr. Hulot much more than his soulless parents.
As a dog ran the opposite direction of where an arrow pointed, he was reunited by a pack to have fun in the park. The film’s final shot invited the viewer to view dog play across the veil of a translucent curtain, complemented by a playful score. The fabric’s softness suggested that after all, people were sentimental beings who would never be totally at ease with a semi-automatic robotic lifestyle.