Details the story of a dying breed of stage entertainer whose thunder is being stolen by emerging rock stars. Forced to accept increasingly obscure assignments in fringe theaters, garden parties and bars, he meets a young fan who changes his life forever.Written by
Most of the film is told through Master Shots, there is not a single close-up in the movie. See more »
Taxis shown in London and Edinburgh are the Austin FX4 model, in common use from 1958 through to the early 21st Century. However, the design of the rear lights, a long oval, was not introduced until 1968. At the time of the film's setting the rear lights were small red units, and the direction indicators were on the roof of the car, and stuck out like 'ears'. See more »
At the end of the final credits, there's a short bonus scene. See more »
Sylvain Chomet's long-awaited follow-up to The Triplets of Belleville adapts an unfilmed screenplay by French master Jacques Tati. Chomet's film doesn't feel much like a Tati film, though - it's very much a Chomet film. But that's okay. I wouldn't want some poor director to feel he has to ape another filmmaker's style. The Illusionist follows a vaudeville magician, modelled after Tati (and called Tatischeff, which was Tati's real last name). He's old, and his world is starting to fade. He leaves France for an extended tour of Britain. Eventually he finds his way to a remote Scottish island, where he meets up with a young woman, Alice. When Tatischeff leaves the island, the girl coyly follows him, and he pretty much adopts her. The two go to Edinburgh (or a fictionalized, Edinburgh-like city) and Tatischeff gets a regular job at a theater (and another at a gas station, secretly, at night) so he can provide the girl with the beautiful clothes she desires (having existed in squalor on the island, she has never seen dresses as beautiful as she does in the city).
The biggest resemblance that it bears to Tati's films, besides the Tati caricature at its center, is the fleeting, impossible romance between the man and the girl. All four of the M. Hulot films contain this element to one degree or another. In The Illusionist, the relationship falls somewhere between the analogous romances in M. Hulot's Holiday and Mon Oncle. In Mon Oncle, there is a teenage girl who has a crush on M. Hulot, but he knows he's far too old for her and treats her in an avuncular fashion. In M. Hulot's Holiday, he is quite a bit older than the blonde, who is frequently bothered by boys her own age, but at least he has a chance. In The Illusionist, Tatischeff is an old man. He does love the girl. He can keep her, but can never have her. She essentially isn't any different than his rabbit - living its life in a cage. When it's free, it's only going to bite his finger when he gets too close.
The film does not contain much in the way of the grotesque oddities that fueled The Triplets of Belleville. It is much subtler, gentler, and more beautiful. It has a grace all its own. It can be very funny when it wishes. Chomet has obviously spent years on this film, and it looks spectacular. Even if he had made only The Triplets of Belleville, his reputation amongst cinematic animators would be secure, but The Illusionist puts him very near the top of the list of the greatest who ever lived.
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