20121003

A film review: In 'The Illusionist', magicians do not exist.

Origin: France, Scotland
Language: French, English, Gaelic
Original title: L'Illusionniste
Director: Sylvain Chomet
Producers: Sally Chomet, Bob Last
Writers: Henry Marquet, Sylvain Chomet 
Genres: Drama / comedy
Casts:
Jean-Claude Donda, Eilidh Rankin  
Release:
June 16, 2010 
Studios: Pathé, Django Films 
Distributors: Pathé, Sony Pictures Classics

As dull as it may seem, but the uninspiring reality of the world of L'Illusionniste (The Illusionist), the 2010 French animated feature by Sylvain Chomet of Les Triplettes de Belleville (Triplets of Belleville) fame rings true, as it ironically and accurately reflected the situation in which I have experienced at the night of the film's screening in my faculty; an almost empty theatre putting on an amazingly crafted and detailed spectacle for the supposedly labeled 'film students' to ponder upon (which consist of mostly the organisers including myself and very few batch mates of mine).

It's sad, it's bleak, but it's definitely inevitable. Who the heck cares about foundation. Who the heck cares about the amount of effort being put into doing something that might change the way you see things. You see it everyday, but you didn't care about any of what is actually happening behind the scenes, let alone the end product being presented and sold that is very subjective in terms of how an audience accepts it. The magician in this film greatly represents many of those who create art, or who appreciates art as it is; something that plays with the mind as you are being treated with a stunning visual piece that provoked such things, but was never appreciated for what they have done. Art exists with the purpose of toning down our dark times by providing a visual therapy as means of temporal escapism. And magic shows among other traditional forms of entertainment are no different than this. L'Illusionniste perfectly captures that irony, and boy it shows.

But the attention-to-detail in mostly everything displayed within the film and slightly heartwarming story did make up for the sadness. The art is a cross between realism (thanks to the premise of the struggling magician that sparked this atmosphere) and fantasy. I've never been to the setting of the film (said to be grounded on the lands of Edinburgh), but it looked amazingly full of life nonetheless. Animation wise, it definitely put even the most advanced CGI animation or any of Disney classic features to shame; the same amazing effort I saw in Les Triplettes de Belleville, but more reality-grounded. Plot line wise, it is not quiet involving or compelling. And did you notice how I didn't include the girl that suddenly followed the magician to be a point of interest in my thought on the feature? It's because she is not needed, and acted more as a burden to the magician more than anything else, preventing me to get into the misadventures of the magician very effectively.

All in all, this animated feature is exactly what any struggling person, especially those in the art or showbiz industry, what needs to be added in your extensive list of films that you have to watch. Yes, it's melancholic, but melancholy can be beautiful in its own way if it's done right, and L'Illusionniste exemplifies this petty statement of mine. Please, please... for your own sake, watch this damn film.

This brief scene literally brought my fragile little heart to tears; and it is this scene that prompted me to say something about the feature.

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