NZFF: The Illusionist (UK/France, 2010)

First Flim Fevistal experience of the year was this animated piece by the fine minds behind Triplets of Belleville. It’s an adaptation of an unproduced (and apparently deeply personal) script by French comic filmmaker Jacques Tati. In the fading years of Vaudeville, a stage illusionist travels where the work takes him, and in the Scottish Highlands he acquires a young girl who is enchanted by him and believes his magic is real. The remainder of the film plays out in Edinburgh, as the illusionist tries to make ends meet, and the girl – a true naif – starts learning a thing or two about life.

We bought the tickets to this one based on Katie’s recommendation on my grumpy-about-film post. It was indeed a stunningly beautiful rendering of Edinburgh, enough to load me with a heavy shot of missing the place. That mood sat well with the film itself, which was gentle and wry and shot through with sadness, right to its final frame. Not a happy movie at all. It didn’t fully transport me, principally because the story never quite resolved its fable-aspects with its realistic-aspects, but it kept me engaged and fascinated throughout, and the ending was marvellously right. (And endings are so very, very difficult to do well.)

So, a successful outing. Good flim. Has chipped away some of the film-grumpiness of recent times.

Next NZFF: Candyman. (Not the guy wth the hook – the guy with the jellybeans.)

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