Thursday, 24 June 2010

L'Illusioniste

Jacques Tati has a very special place in my heart. When I was little, my mum took me to see Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh, and it is my first ever memory of laughing so hard that I actually cried.

Tati is a French film director who was born in 1907 and died in 1982. His father was Franco – Russian and his mother was Dutch – Italian. His film Jour de Fête was one of the first full length colour films ever made, although it initially came out in black and white because of costs. (Thank you, Wikipedia). Thanks to the Edinburgh Filmhouse, I’ve seen most of his major films and Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot is definitely the funniest, being almost pure slapstick, while the others are more gentle comedies.

L’Illusioniste is based on an screenplay of Tati’s that was left unfinished when he died. The film has been turned into an animation by Sylvain Chomet, the director of Les Triplets de Belleville (Belleville Rendez-Vous in English), and while the slapstick comedy is less funny than it would be if it had been acted by the man himself, the animation is very faithful to Tati’s style. I was particularly delighted to find out that most of the film takes place in Scotland and takes the mickey out of Teuchters and Edinburghers alike (so it will no doubt be a resounding success at the Filmhouse…) Without giving away too much, I can say that it is funny, nostalgic and sad and everybody should go and see it, because films this good don’t come out very often. Enjoy!

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