The Illusionist

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.




"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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Kid-friendly start time: 11:00 am!