Format: Blu-ray from personal collection on rockin’ flatscreen.
When I first heard about The Illusionist (called L’Illusionniste in France), I was interested in seeing it. In fact, I was interested enough that when the local remaining Blockbuster went out of business, I bought the Blu-ray. Tonight I finally got the chance to watch. My interest in the film stemmed not from any relationship it has with the 2006 film of the same name (there’s no relationship at all), but this film’s pedigree. The Illusionist is based on a screenplay written by the great Jacques Tati. I like Tati and wish that he’d done more films, so The Illusionist, originally intended as a live-action film, is special.
It’s also immediately evident that this is based on the Tati, or at least done in the style of Tati. We are introduced to Tatischeff (marginally voiced by Jean-Claude Donda), a stage magician working in France in 1959. Tatischeff has a good act and a cantankerous rabbit, but the world is passing him by. As his audience fades, he makes the decision to take the act to England, where he plays following a raucous rock band. Dissatisfied, he heads north to Scotland.