EIFF – The Illusionist Review 16/06/10


Much hype has surrounded this film given that it is the opening gala for this years Edinburgh International Film Festival just about completely selling out the 1000+ capacity of the Festival theatre the day tickets were released.

Introduced by a short speech from the Artistic Director of the EIFF, Hannah McGill and Director of the film, Sylvain Chomet, the audience were met with an entertaining yet sincere man who claimed Edinburgh to be better than Cannes and emphasised his love of the city in which the film was set.

A perfect beginning to the festival, Chomet captured the essence of Edinburgh’s streets, buildings and bridges without ever being too brash focusing on beautiful animation rather than the ever increasing affectation of 3D imaging which often substitutes quality for dazzlement. There is a definite delight in the recognition of Princes street, Arthur’s Seat and the department store Jenners where Chomet conveys these noteworthy landmarks in his own pastiche style.

Similar to previous effort Bellevile Rendez-vous, the script contains little to no dialogue instead emphasising actions and expressions to allow for conversation, this is made more understandable by the language barrier present in title character Tatischeff.

The film seems to highlight a dejected sense of nostalgia where the emergence of rock and roll bands has meant the incurring end of other entertainers. This is only made more apparent in the amiable naivety of Tatischeff’s child companion Alice who seems to be convinced of the performer’s authenticity and thus becomes the focus of  her attention but which falters as she ages and is led to more interesting passions such as boys.

However, despite a stunning closing scene there is a feeling that the film is wrapped up too abruptly. It is a story underlined with melancholy but which lacks convincing enough characterisation. Although it was very special and indeed appropriate having the elegant portrayal of Edinburgh there is a wonder that having been set in foreign surroundings it would have lost much of  its magical appeal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: