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THE ILLUSIONIST

Director: SYLVAIN CHOMET

83 minutes| U.K.-France| 2010| Subtitled (English and French dialogue)| Colour| Dolby Digital Stereo| 35mm


French animator Sylvain Chomet won many fans with his delightfully jaunty The Triplets of Belleville, but this captivating new film is something else again – no mere ‘cartoon’ but an exquisitely rendered, utterly affecting work of art. Then again, he had great material, being gifted an unfilmed Jacques Tati screenplay by the latter’s daughter, producer Sophie Tatischeff. Sadly, she didn’t live to see the end product, but it’s easy to imagine she and her dad both being wowed by this sad and lovely 1950s-set tale about a down-on-his-luck stage magician who adopts a waif-like young girl only to lose her heart as the process of growing up takes over. It’s a poignant, essentially universal tale of fathers and daughters, brought to life in wondrously detailed vintage Scottish settings. This has the emotive delicacy of a Miyazaki, the visual lushness of classic Disney, and the comic melancholy of Tati all rolled into one. This future classic will take your breath away. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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