04 February 2011

L'Illusionniste (The Illusionist) *

It's funny to have so little to say about a movie that I liked so much, but the truth is, I don't have any words to do it justice. It's not that I'm speechless (exactly), it's just that the film is an experience, a collection of tiny poignant moments and bittersweet humor. It's not that surprising, maybe -- the story doesn't need words to speak; words are pointedly missing, especially from the main character (basically Tati himself, practically M. Hulot). This isn't a story about words.

Just last night I advised a friend to tell his students to try and envision (and write) their stories as silent films first, and tell the story through visual cues rather than exposition and info-dump (a particular student wants to tell his complicated story solely through voiceover), and this is the perfect example of that done right. It also feels like a suitable testament to the body of work Tati left, but although I quite like him and his films I'm not an avid fan, so maybe that's not for me to say.

That's about all I have to say. I liked everything about this. I would like to see it again (on DVD or Blu-ray, perhaps, or at a cheap theater). I would even love to see this win Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, but of course who am I kidding? Well, at least it got a nomination.

If I do have anything critical to say, I have to mention that towards the end a couple of egregious 3D tracking-through-landscape shots ruined some otherwise magical moments for me, but they were quick and the rest of the film's poetry eclipses the flaws for me.

Anyway, I have nothing deep to say about this. You should really just go see it, right away. It speaks for itself.

Seen at Cinema 21.

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