TIFF ’10: Day 2 ~ The Illusionist (L’Illusioniste)

[reconstructed from a previously lost post, originally posted 9-12]

Seven years after his groundbreaking  Les Triplettes de Belleville, artist-director  Sylvain Chomet has completed his latest film. In flat, mutedly colored 2-d animation, Chomet has created something quite different from the Pixar dominated landscape. And really, it’s quite different from his earlier film as well. Where the former was frenetic and fast paced, he slows this one down to a crawl. Bucolic, sentimental, backward looking, with an almost religious devotion to the past, his new film explores the changing world and what we lose in the process.

The Illusionist (Tatischeff) which has almost no dialogue, is based on a never filmed story by Jacques Tati. Tatischeff (Tati’s real name) comes face to face with his namesake at one point in the movie when he stumbles into a theater playing Tati’s Mon Oncle. Ironically, the end of Tati’s life mirrored in many ways the story of the Illusionist.

While I was somewhat disappointed in this one (I thought Tripletts was better, but expected this new one to raise the bar), the ending is perfect, as slowly the old was are shut down and the lights go out.

Hearkening back to the earlier film, there is an example of the new elbowing out the old in a savagely satirical look at a second rate rock band that is worth the price of admission.

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