The Illusionist

(L’illusionniste)
France/Great Britain 2010. Dir: Sylvain Chomet. 80 min. 35mm

“I want children to have fun at the cinema as I did at the circus when I was little ... One must create a truly festive climate.” JACQUES TATI

SUMMER WITH TATI! French comic-book artist and animator Sylvain Chomet’s follow-up to the irresistible Triplets of Belleville, a worldwide sensation, is another triumph of glorious hand-drawn animation. Based on an unproduced script by French comic legend Jacques Tati, and starring an animated version of Tati himself, the Oscar-nominated film is set in Scotland in the late 1950s, where down-on-his-luck French magician Tatischeff (Tati’s real surname) lands a modest gig in a pub. There, he meets Alice, a naïve lass who believes Tatischeff’s tricks are genuine magic. The aging conjurer doesn’t have the heart to tell Alice the truth, and a tender father-daughter-like relationship develops between them. À la Triplets, The Illusionist is poignant, gorgeously drawn, and employs (à la Tati also) an ingenious aural design using next-to-no dialogue. “An intricate jewel ... It will be admired and loved as much as Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian). Print courtesy TIFF’s Film Reference Library.


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REVIEWS

"Elegiac, charming, mournful, and wondrous. Take your child, if you have to beg borrow or steal a ticket. They don’t make many films that contain emotionally real stuff of life for kids anymore."

The Tyee | full review

"For its 80 minutes, the movie creates the illusion that not just Tati but his form of cerebral slapstick lives."

LA Weekly | full review


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