Author Topic: The Illusionist  (Read 1318 times)

CaledonianGonzo

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The Illusionist
« on: September 05, 2010, 07:03:22 AM »
I was sure I started a thread for this months and months ago, but never mind - finally off to see it this evening.





Droooooooool.........

sirhenry

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Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2010, 10:28:27 AM »
I saw it a couple of weeks ago, as soon as I heard about it. Having grown up loving all things Jacques Tati, I was amazed to hear that here was a new Tati film out, and a little worried that it wouldn't have his charm or eye for beauty and the absurd.

Shouldn't have worried, it was gorgeous. Folks who liked Belleville Rendezvous should see this while they can as it is even more beautifully drawn/painted/animated, capturing the bleak beauty of autumnal Scotland in wet, dull watercolours that Disneypixar don't even know exist. And there are hardly any concessions to Hollywood's demand for a happy ending. The tone of granite-grey bleakness that builds during the film is wonderfully balanced against Tati's attempts to keep some magic alive in Alice's life, but in the end this is about the death of various ways of life at the start of th 60's.

The viewer reviews that I've read don't appreciate that bleakness, and none seem to know Tati's films, leading them to complain about the multilingual dialogue. A terrible shame as it implies that Tati has all but disappeared outside France.
If you don't know Tati, see some of his films[nb]M. Hulot's Holiday, Trafic, Mon Oncle[/nb]. If you love animation, see The Illusionist.

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Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2010, 10:38:31 AM »
Sheffield Showroom have got this on next week, so I'll certainly be going along, having found Belleville Rendezvous delightful.

Animated art of their standard and style makes it virtually a must-see on that count alone.


Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2010, 12:17:12 PM »
Ah, I loved Belleville Rendezvous.

Vitalstatistix

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Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2010, 12:44:53 PM »
I found this film pretty half-baked and nothing like as gripping, unusual and captivating as Belleville Rendezvous.

It seems to want to get by on nothing else but that meandering Gallic charm, but the characters are so poorly defined it drags the whole project down, and there's no sense of drama or tension anywhere to be seen. I enjoyed the film visually, but that's not enough for me, I'm afraid.

[spoiler]Its picture of young women as utterly shallow and superficial is cynical to the point of sexist.[/spoiler] Did anyone read this differently? I'd love a different take!

sirhenry

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Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2010, 02:32:27 PM »
Did anyone read this differently? I'd love a different take!
I saw the Alice character as the counterpoint to the death of Tati's world. [spoiler]While he and the other music hall artists found their lives being ended by the arrival of vacuous, giggling rock and roll and incomprehensible movies, with no future for the old tricks or the old guard, she provided the view that this shiny new world wasn't all empty and soulless.

She comes from an island where the people are living exactly the way they have been for hundreds of years with a ceilidh every Saturday night and hand-me-down clothes and shoes that you wear till they've completely fallen apart. For Alice there is no future, only a continuous present until death. Then she get to the big city and sees the beginning of the new world, the world that is killing Tati and his kind, but to her it's full of potential joy and life.  It's the end of the old human-scale, pre-consumerist world, but it still has the potential for humanity.

Their two stories seem to run in polarically opposite directions; his in decline, hers in ascendancy. Every setback for Tati has a corresponding advance for Alice, leaving him with nowhere to go while she has the whole wonderful city to give her new experiences (as shown in the stunning fly-round of Edinburgh at the end.[/spoiler]
Without her the film would have been overwhelmingly bleak.

Vitalstatistix

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Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2010, 03:00:07 PM »
[spoiler]Then she get to the big city and sees the beginning of the new world, the world that is killing Tati and his kind, but to her it's full of potential joy and life.  It's the end of the old human-scale, pre-consumerist world, but it still has the potential for humanity.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]But her 'joy and life' in modern society seems to be framed as an insatiable and shallow desire for expensive clothes and a handsome boyfriend.  I like your interpretation but Alice's transformation from nice, innocent girl to consumerist bitch didn't sit right with me. It seemed to me a blinkered ode to the olde times[/spoiler]

Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2010, 04:41:46 PM »
I think you are being a bit harsh on ole Alice's character Vitalstatistix, she didn't seem that way to me.

Anyway I loved it, thought it was better than Belleville Rendevouz and was just as beautifully animated.

Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2010, 07:40:05 PM »
I thought it was great and it's stayed with me since I watched it.  Beautiful animation (although I live in Edinburgh so there were an element of spot-places-you-know) juxtaposed with some incredibly bleak moments.

I also never saw Alice to be written in a sexist manner.  I think it's a completely different angle as [spoiler]she thought she was getting all these items through his magic and effectively lived a fairytale existence.  She never understood that he'd been working extra jobs to fund her new (vastly different) lifestyle.  The ending with her new boyfriend was approrpiate in connecting her back to the real world and allowing her to move on.[/spoiler]

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Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2010, 10:38:15 PM »
I agree with DocDaneeka on the character of Alice.

I saw this a few weeks ago in Bath, and loved it unreservedly. Real charm, humour, sadness, the works. The character designs are absolutely stunning - especially [spoiler]the rabbit[/spoiler].

Oh, and was I the only one who wondered if Alice's boyfriend - [spoiler]looking a lot like a young Sean Connery - was gonna turn out to be a villainous bad 'un in the Marnie manner[/spoiler]?

And the moment when the titular illusionist [spoiler]goes into the cinema and unconsciously mimics the celluloid Tati's movements on the screen[/spoiler]...just one of the Greatest Cinema Moments EVER.

SEE THIS FILM.

sirhenry

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Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2010, 12:09:59 AM »
Oh, and was I the only one who wondered if Alice's boyfriend - [spoiler]looking a lot like a young Sean Connery - was gonna turn out to be a villainous bad 'un in the Marnie manner[/spoiler]?
No, you weren't.
And the moment when the titular illusionist [spoiler]goes into the cinema and unconsciously mimics the celluloid Tati's movements on the screen[/spoiler]...just one of the Greatest Cinema Moments EVER.
[/quote]YES!

Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2010, 12:36:53 AM »
It was pretty weird watching the above scene in the very screening room in which it was set, as I did tonight. A strange and unexpected moment.

Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2010, 08:40:24 AM »
It's funny how many good reviews this film got, how difficult it is to see anywhere! Even when I saw it at the Cornerhouse, Manchester they stuck it on in their smallest cinema. I think it's a great shame how animation can never quite shake off the "cartoons are for kids" thing.

Can't wait to see it again which is a good sign. Especially to see all the little details I'm sure to have missed - "Blair and Brown Pawnbrokers" for instance.

The "bit after the credits" was not as good as Belleville Rendez-vous but then that is the best "bit after the credits" ever.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2010, 09:40:36 PM »
Despite my hollow claims in the OP, I did actually finally get to see this this evening.  Boy, am I glad.

It was pretty weird watching the above scene in the very screening room in which it was set, as I did tonight. A strange and unexpected moment.

I'm so glad I hadn't heard about that before tonight (although I know other people who've seen it at the Cameo, they were decent enough to keep schtum).  Strange, unexpected, surreal and utterly, utterly magical.  Up there with my best movie moments ever.

There's no doubt that being an Edinburgh resident adds an extra patina to it (Coo!  The Barony, etc.), and I'm so glad I didn't opt for a more convenient showing at The Filmhouse.

Can't wait to see it again which is a good sign. Especially to see all the little details I'm sure to have missed - "Blair and Brown Pawnbrokers" for instance.

Based on this all-too-real gaff:




(This post appears to contain the word 'glad' three times.  So be it.)

Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2010, 05:21:03 PM »
I'm so glad I hadn't heard about that before tonight (although I know other people who've seen it at the Cameo, they were decent enough to keep schtum). 
Gah! Sorry, should have spoilered that on reflection.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: The Illusionist
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2010, 12:35:05 PM »
Gah! Sorry, should have spoilered that on reflection.

Not to worry - I deliberately avoided this thread when my viewing was postponed.