Wednesday, 22 September 2010

On an autumn afternoon, this was such a perfect film, poignant and funny, and as soon as it finished I wanted to see it all over again. The Illusionist is a vaudeville magician on his uppers, who meets Alice, a young girl who is convinced that his magic is real. (It's based on a previously unfilmed screenplay by Jacques Tati.)
I loved the old-fashioned animation evoking rain-drenched London and soot-blackened Edinburgh in the late 1950s; a world of third-class British Rail carriages and dingy theatrical digs. I giggled at the Scottish fish and chip shop with ideas above its station; I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when the magician thinks he has eaten his nasty-tempered rabbit in a stew. And I felt really sad that the cinema was almost empty because I thought this gentle, nostalgic film was a work of art.


Dark Puss said...

I'm glad you liked it, it reminds me very much of my early years in Edinburgh (I just about overlap with the late 1950's) and I certainly remember how very black my city was. However I do not think the animation is in any way old fashioned, it struck me as extremely sophisitcated and modern, particularly in its treatment of rain and shadow.

mary said...

Hello, Dark Puss. You're right, of course, it's extremely sophisticated and that teeming rain was amazing. What I meant by old-fashioned was that it was beautifully drawn. As opposed to computer animation - which leaves me cold.
There was something about the sooty blackness of cities ... well into the 60s as I recall?