A new YouTube video gives us the first online look at moving footage from Sylvain Chomet‘s The Illusionist, and what we see is simply stunning. The film has premiered this week at the Berlin Film Festival to some wonderfully positive reviews, the most encouraging of which come from those who had doubts about Chomet’s previous feature, Belleville Rendezvous. You can see the video after the break.

This Illusionist is a hand drawn animation, not to be mistaken for Neil Burger’s live action film from a few years back. Chomet was working from an unproduced screenplay by Jacques Tati, intended to be a live action film. Making conjuring magical in a toon – where there doesn’t need to be a trick, anything can be drawn – is no mean feat.

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Creating a ‘traditionally animated’ feature, which is to say a film created by drawing 2D images rather than tweaking 3D models, either physically or virtually, is most definitely a very time consuming exercise (I take issue with the term ‘traditionally animated’ as I’m not sure what’s untraditional about the art of stop-motion). Unsurprising, then, that the last time I saw a new image from Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist was literally years ago. Finally, a batch of gorgeous new images have surfaced, and you can see them all below the break.

Chomet, if you don’t know the name, was the director of The Triplets of Belleville, aka Belleville Rendezvous, a French toon that made something of a splash back in 2003, not least by garnering effusive praise from some big cheeses at Pixar.

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