THE ILLUSIONIST (L’ILLUSIONNISTE)
SP D: Sylvain Chomet w/ Jean-Claude Donda, Eilidh Rankin. UK. 80 min. Sep 12, 2:30 pm Visa
Screening Room (Elgin); Sep 19, 6:30 pm TIFF Bell
Lightbox 2 Rating: NNNNN Working from an unproduced script by Jacques Tati, animator Chomet has crafted a marvellously dry, rewardingly subtle comedy about an aging French stage magician who befriends a Scottish village girl and takes her with him to a performance in the big city.
As in Chomet’s debut, The Triplets Of Belleville, dialogue is minimal; the characters’ exquisite faces do most of the storytelling. (The magician’s rabbit is a tiny marvel of anthropomorphism.) And like Triplets, what appears to be a modest little entertainment ends on a piercing note of emotional honesty – though in this case at least some of the credit must go to Tati.