L’Illusionniste (The Illusionist)
2010
***
Director: Sylvain Chomet
Cast: Jean-Claude Donda, Eilidh Rankin

A melancholic grown-up animation about a down-and-out French illusionist who travels to remote Scotland in the late 1950s. On the way back a young girl follows him to Edinburgh, where they share a hotel room. She is dazzled by her kind benefactor, but unaware what he needs to do to make ends meet. These two characters are wonderfully drawn, in more senses than one, almost entirely without dialogue, but the nature of their relationship remains frustratingly ambiguous. Sylvain Chomet’s follow-up to The Triplettes of Belleville retains his beautiful and distinctive animation style. This short but slow-paced film is based on an unproduced screenplay by the late Jacques Tati, but the story is more sad than funny.