The Illusionist

Last Updated: July 30, 2011By Tags: ,

“The Illusionist” by Sylvain Chaumet is a bit of a disappointment.The French-born screenwriter and graphic artist gave us “The Triplets of Belleville” in 2003 (nominated for Oscars and Cesars). Remember the namesake tune and the frenetic storytelling around those three sisters in a Paris that everybody knows but no one has seen? Seven years later, anticipation was at an all-time high for us Parisian moviegoers hoping to find an encore of originality and potent storytelling.

But none is to be found in “The Illusionist,” which came out on DVD this month. A down-and-out magician (modeled after Jacques Tati, since the story itself was adapted from a never-before published screenplay penned by the French filmmaker) leaves Paris for Scotland after rock’n’roll takes over music-hall stages, driving a stick in the heart of Count de Vaudeville. He never quite finds success again but instead runs into browbeaten colleagues and makes friends with a young woman he meets at an inn (our guy does manage to keep his wits about him and a certain detached optimism). There’s no real dialogue to speak of although “The Illusionist” should have a lot to spare in the visual department. Note: should.

A narrative that’s painfully lacking takes all the oomph out of Chaumet’s graphic style and the thousand-and-ones shenanigans, visual sniggers and guffaws that “Triplets” came packed tightly with here collapse like an angel food cake gone awry.

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12 Comments

  1. Anonymous August 20, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    The precise reason Chomet has wilfully chosen to misinterpret and pervert the true nature of Tati's original script, thus diluting and undermining its validity, is unclear. But in so doing, preposterously in this observers opinion, by attempting to re-write the personal details of a private life, weaving in similes that flimsily echo the personal journey that he (Chomet) has shared with his own daughter throughout the creative process merely serves to provide a smokescreen, a cheap conjurer's trick, neatly drawing attention away from what lies at the central core of the l'Illusionniste; a far deeper, intrinsically more compelling story that Chomet has stubbornly, and for whatever reason, completely failed to grasp. And now, all these years on, it seems somehow perverse and downright degradeing that a young woman, abandoned in youth, is now once again in her dotage, but not just by her father (as if this is not bad enough), but by the slanted agenda's of induviduals and estates who seek to embroider the separate strands of their own lives into the Jaques Tati myth at the expense of those biologically tied:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/31/jacques-tati-lost-film-family-illusionniste

  2. Anonymous August 20, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    The precise reason Chomet has wilfully chosen to misinterpret and pervert the true nature of Tati's original script, thus diluting and undermining its validity, is unclear. But in so doing, preposterously in this observers opinion, by attempting to re-write the personal details of a private life, weaving in similes that flimsily echo the personal journey that he (Chomet) has shared with his own daughter throughout the creative process merely serves to provide a smokescreen, a cheap conjurer's trick, neatly drawing attention away from what lies at the central core of the l'Illusionniste; a far deeper, intrinsically more compelling story that Chomet has stubbornly, and for whatever reason, completely failed to grasp. And now, all these years on, it seems somehow perverse and downright degradeing that a young woman, abandoned in youth, is now once again in her dotage, but not just by her father (as if this is not bad enough), but by the slanted agenda's of induviduals and estates who seek to embroider the separate strands of their own lives into the Jaques Tati myth at the expense of those biologically tied:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/31/jacques-tati-lost-film-family-illusionniste

  3. Anonymous August 20, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    The precise reason Chomet has wilfully chosen to misinterpret and pervert the true nature of Tati's original script, thus diluting and undermining its validity, is unclear. But in so doing, preposterously in this observers opinion, by attempting to re-write the personal details of a private life, weaving in similes that flimsily echo the personal journey that he (Chomet) has shared with his own daughter throughout the creative process merely serves to provide a smokescreen, a cheap conjurer's trick, neatly drawing attention away from what lies at the central core of the l'Illusionniste; a far deeper, intrinsically more compelling story that Chomet has stubbornly, and for whatever reason, completely failed to grasp. And now, all these years on, it seems somehow perverse and downright degradeing that a young woman, abandoned in youth, is now once again in her dotage, but not just by her father (as if this is not bad enough), but by the slanted agenda's of induviduals and estates who seek to embroider the separate strands of their own lives into the Jaques Tati myth at the expense of those biologically tied:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/31/jacques-tati-lost-film-family-illusionniste

  4. Anonymous August 20, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    The precise reason Chomet has wilfully chosen to misinterpret and pervert the true nature of Tati's original script, thus diluting and undermining its validity, is unclear. But in so doing, preposterously in this observers opinion, by attempting to re-write the personal details of a private life, weaving in similes that flimsily echo the personal journey that he (Chomet) has shared with his own daughter throughout the creative process merely serves to provide a smokescreen, a cheap conjurer's trick, neatly drawing attention away from what lies at the central core of the l'Illusionniste; a far deeper, intrinsically more compelling story that Chomet has stubbornly, and for whatever reason, completely failed to grasp. And now, all these years on, it seems somehow perverse and downright degradeing that a young woman, abandoned in youth, is now once again in her dotage, but not just by her father (as if this is not bad enough), but by the slanted agenda's of induviduals and estates who seek to embroider the separate strands of their own lives into the Jaques Tati myth at the expense of those biologically tied:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/31/jacques-tati-lost-film-family-illusionniste

  5. Screen Comment August 20, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you for commenting. Hadn't read the Guardian article but will do so, with interest.

  6. Screen Comment August 20, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you for commenting. Hadn't read the Guardian article but will do so, with interest.

  7. Screen Comment August 20, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you for commenting. Hadn't read the Guardian article but will do so, with interest.

  8. Screen Comment August 20, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you for commenting. Hadn't read the Guardian article but will do so, with interest.

  9. Araz Barseghian February 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    سلام دوست عزیز
    اولین باره با وبلاگ مواجه می‌شم و امیدوارم فارسی رو از یاد نبرده باشی.
    خب اول از همه اینکه منظورت از «ما فیلم بین‌های فارسی» (یا ایرانی) چیه؟ چطور منتقدی می‌تونه خودش را به جای چندین و چند میلیون آدم فیلم‌بین ایرانی بذاره و نظر بدم؟ مشکلت با نبود دیالوگ در فیلم چیه؟
    شعبده‌باز داستان بعد از اینکه راک‌اندرول وارد صحنه‌ی لندن شده نه پاریس می‌ره اسکاتلند. چون بی‌پوله و کاری نداره.
    چرا می‌گویی زنی جوان؟ درستش دختری جوان است و همین جوان بودن و خام بودن در فیلم تبدیل به بزرگ سالی می‌شود.
    این همه زیبایی، این همه موسیقی عالی، این همه روایت نرم و لطیف در فیلم چطور به چشم نمی‌آید نمی‌دانم.
    موفق باشی

  10. Araz Barseghian February 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    سلام دوست عزیز
    اولین باره با وبلاگ مواجه می‌شم و امیدوارم فارسی رو از یاد نبرده باشی.
    خب اول از همه اینکه منظورت از «ما فیلم بین‌های فارسی» (یا ایرانی) چیه؟ چطور منتقدی می‌تونه خودش را به جای چندین و چند میلیون آدم فیلم‌بین ایرانی بذاره و نظر بدم؟ مشکلت با نبود دیالوگ در فیلم چیه؟
    شعبده‌باز داستان بعد از اینکه راک‌اندرول وارد صحنه‌ی لندن شده نه پاریس می‌ره اسکاتلند. چون بی‌پوله و کاری نداره.
    چرا می‌گویی زنی جوان؟ درستش دختری جوان است و همین جوان بودن و خام بودن در فیلم تبدیل به بزرگ سالی می‌شود.
    این همه زیبایی، این همه موسیقی عالی، این همه روایت نرم و لطیف در فیلم چطور به چشم نمی‌آید نمی‌دانم.
    موفق باشی

  11. Araz Barseghian February 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    سلام دوست عزیز
    اولین باره با وبلاگ مواجه می‌شم و امیدوارم فارسی رو از یاد نبرده باشی.
    خب اول از همه اینکه منظورت از «ما فیلم بین‌های فارسی» (یا ایرانی) چیه؟ چطور منتقدی می‌تونه خودش را به جای چندین و چند میلیون آدم فیلم‌بین ایرانی بذاره و نظر بدم؟ مشکلت با نبود دیالوگ در فیلم چیه؟
    شعبده‌باز داستان بعد از اینکه راک‌اندرول وارد صحنه‌ی لندن شده نه پاریس می‌ره اسکاتلند. چون بی‌پوله و کاری نداره.
    چرا می‌گویی زنی جوان؟ درستش دختری جوان است و همین جوان بودن و خام بودن در فیلم تبدیل به بزرگ سالی می‌شود.
    این همه زیبایی، این همه موسیقی عالی، این همه روایت نرم و لطیف در فیلم چطور به چشم نمی‌آید نمی‌دانم.
    موفق باشی

  12. Araz Barseghian February 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    سلام دوست عزیز
    اولین باره با وبلاگ مواجه می‌شم و امیدوارم فارسی رو از یاد نبرده باشی.
    خب اول از همه اینکه منظورت از «ما فیلم بین‌های فارسی» (یا ایرانی) چیه؟ چطور منتقدی می‌تونه خودش را به جای چندین و چند میلیون آدم فیلم‌بین ایرانی بذاره و نظر بدم؟ مشکلت با نبود دیالوگ در فیلم چیه؟
    شعبده‌باز داستان بعد از اینکه راک‌اندرول وارد صحنه‌ی لندن شده نه پاریس می‌ره اسکاتلند. چون بی‌پوله و کاری نداره.
    چرا می‌گویی زنی جوان؟ درستش دختری جوان است و همین جوان بودن و خام بودن در فیلم تبدیل به بزرگ سالی می‌شود.
    این همه زیبایی، این همه موسیقی عالی، این همه روایت نرم و لطیف در فیلم چطور به چشم نمی‌آید نمی‌دانم.
    موفق باشی

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