Posted on Monday, March 22nd, 2010 by Russ Fischer
I’m about as interested as it is possible to be in Sylvain Chomet‘s upcoming The Illusionist. My interest is based on the fact that the film is the intersection of Chomet’s visual sense, somehow both a quaint and fantastic evocation of the everyday as seen in The Triplets of Belleville, and the storytelling impulse of the late Jacques Tati, which not coincidentally could be described in very similar terms.
We’ve seen a brief bit of footage from The Illusionist in the recent past, but now there is a Russian clip that acts as a great little trailer. And it is quite lovely.
Twitch has the trailer. A good bit of the footage here echoes what we saw previously, but there is a scene at the opening that is both new and a great setup. As the titular magician (animated to uncannily resemble an aged Tati) prepares to take the stage, he has to wait for a Beatles-style rock combo to finish their set. When he’s finally given the spotlight, we see that time may have left the old entertainer behind.
The montage that follows suggests the fact that he then takes to the country, where he finds new entertainment jobs, an unexpected fan and perhaps a new life.
It’s easy to make too much, I think, of the influence of Tati on the film, especially given the faithfulness with which the main character has been rendered based on the director. And while, yes, that is a hook, I’m really just curious to see what Chomet has made of this overall. Triplets of Belleville was often quite wonderful to look at, but I wasn’t fully taken by the tale. Can The Illusionist bridge the gap that Belleville couldn’t?