First of all, I must state that this is not The Illusionist, the brilliant film from 2006 with Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti, but the French animated film The Illusionist from 2010, that also happens to be rather brilliant in its sweet way. Set in the mid-1950’s, it’s the story of a small-time illusionist who visits a tiny Scottish town, and a young female resident who believes through his kind actions that he is an actual magician. She tags along with Tatischeff the Illusionist, and they form a bond of friendship. More that this, it is, in a small way, the story of the approach of the modern era and the increasingly hard-to-please and sophisticated public. It’s a story of kindness, and the little things that one can do for almost complete strangers that make all the difference in the world.
In what seems like a match made in heaven, Sylvain Chomet–the writer/director of the whimsically Oscar-nominated The Triplets of Belleville–teamed up with the timeless French funnyman and filmmaker Jacques Tati for the new animated feature The Illusionist. (Given that Tati died in 1982, said match was in all likelihood negotiated within the pearly gates). Sony Picture Classics bore witness to the magic of Illusionist after its Berlin Film Festival world premiere and acquired the North American distribution rights, targeting an end of the year release: your move, Oscar.
In The Illusionist, Chomet brings Tati back to life in animated form through an unproduced Tati screenplay, which tells the tale of “details the story of a dying breed of stage entertainer whose thunder is being stolen by emerging rock stars.” You’ll find the full press release after the jump.
A sweet little trailer for Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist has come online. The trailer is originally from afisha.ru and comes to us via Catsuka via Twitch. Even though I cannot read the Russian title cards, I can see that the animation is stunning and filled with personality. There’s a sense of melancholy, humor, and discovery and since I think Chomet’s The Triplets of Bellville is fantastic, I can’t way to see this. It’s also his first feature since Triplets debuted back in 2003.
The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and is set to open in France on May 5th. No word yet when US audiences will see it, but hopefully it will be sometime this year. Hit the jump to check out the trailer and the synopsis.
I absolutely love Jacques Tati. In my opinion, Tati is one of the greatest filmmakers who has ever lived. I rank his film, “Playtime”, as one of the greatest films that I have ever seen so far and it bums me out that he made so few films during his long career.
A couple of years ago, I remember reading that the man behind the also pretty amazing “Triplets of Belleville”, Sylvain Chomet, was developing an animated film featuring Tati which would use one of Tati’s unproduced screenplays and from that day on, this film, “The Illusionist”, became one of my most anticipated movies. Now, we have the first images from the film and you can see them when you hit the jump.