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jT8| The Illusionist
Director: Sylvain Chomet
Cast: Jean-Claude Donda, Edith Rankin
Genre: Animation

Running Time: 80
Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1 (NTSC Widescreen)
Sound: AC-3
Subtitles: English
Studio:  Sony Pictures Classics DVD Region:  1 PG
DVD Release:  May 2011 Discs:  2 (Cloud) []
Reviews:  "The Illusionist" (2010) is director Sylvain Chomet's homage to French writer-director-actor Jacques Tati, whose work he's loved for years: the three beldams in Chomet's "The Triplets of Belleville" even watch a clip from Tati's "Jour de Fête" in bed. Based on a script Tati wrote but never produced, the film focuses on a sleight-of-hand magician whose career founders as television and rock and roll supplant traditional entertainment. During a trip to a remote village in Scotland--where pub goers still appreciate his act--the magician encounters Alice, a teenage girl who works as a maid. When he departs, Alice follows him to Edinburgh, seeking a more glamorous life. In addition to his stage gigs, the Illusionist works at various odd jobs to support Alice, whom he treats as an adopted daughter. Like "Triplets" (and Tati's classic comedies), "The Illusionist" is told with only minimal dialogue. However, in place of the manic energy of "Triplets", "The Illusionist" is permeated with a wistful melancholy for a fading era, a fading talent, and, ultimately, a fading relationship. The animation is more polished than in Chomet's previous films: a sequence of the drunken magician teetering around the lobby of a broken-down hotel is brilliantly drawn. The backgrounds of Edinburgh are beautifully rendered. "The Illusionist" won awards from several critics' groups in the United States, but it lacks the purity of vision of "Triplets". The film represents a combination of Tati's and Chomet's sensibilities, rather than the pure work of either artist. It's a lovely film, but viewers expecting the take-no-prisoners absurdity of "Triplets of Belleville" will be disappointed. (Rated PG for thematic elements and smoking) "--Charles Solomon"

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