Sunday, 5 September 2010

Pulling a rabbit out of the hat: The Illusionist review

Fabulous movies don't have to be plot-filled. And great scripts can be stuck in development hell for fifty years.

Jacques Tati wrote the screenplay for The Illusionist back in 1956 as a way of trying to re-establish a relationship with his estranged late daughter, Sophie (see also Edinbourg rendez-vous? Yes, please)
The Tati Estate has been very cautious about anyone producing the story, so Sylvain Chomet (the maker of the classic Belleville Rendez-Vous) needed the tact of a fox to convince the family to let him loose on the crown jewels as a feature-length animation.

And to persuade them to let him reset the movie largely in Edinburgh and the Highlands of Scotland.

Big on atmosphere, father-daughter relationships and the disappointment of fading dreams, The Illusionist is a period costume piece without nostalgia. It's a rites of passage story about growing up and growing old, sad without being tragic and with a strange nobility invested in the central character: Tati himself as the illusionist.

Almost a silent film, the movie has a great chance of an Oscar next year as Best Foreign Picture. Go see it for yourselves.

Search for Jacques Tati

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