Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Illusionist

Jacques Tati was an absolutely brilliant director, mime and the greatest French comedian since Max Linder and an all round cinematic genius. He made only six films, four of which feature his character M. Hulot: M. Hulot's Holiday, Mon Oncle, Playtime, Trafic (YouTube links). If you've never seen M. Hulot before, you may recognize his influence on Rowan Atkinson's character Mr. Bean. If you've never seen a Jacques Tati film before, go out and rent one or if you have seen them go and watch them again. They're all lovely, hilarious and just the right thing to take your mind off the snow piling up outside your door.

The only film that I went to see this year at the Film Festival was The Illusionist. Sylvain Chomet, you remember his last film Triplets of Belleville, was given a Jacques Tati script from the Fifties by his daughter before she died. The Illusionist is a Jacques Tati film, only in Chomet's distinctive animated style. Set in 1950's Edinburgh it is about a father and daughter, the end of the music hall, the importance of magic, an evil bunny and has a brief appearance by the greatest Fifties British rockers ever! Chomet also painstakingly recreated M. Hulot in animated form. It's all there; the stripped socks, the odd lurching walk, the umbrella and the complete bafflement of modern technology. He also gives M. Hulot a fitting end to his character, something which Tati wasn't able to do.

If The Illusionist is playing on a screen near you (one should only see it on the big screen) then do go out and see it, it will be the most wonderful film you've seen this year.

1 comment:

La Fille D'or said...

Love this. Thank you for sharing.