Only two people to mention here: Chomet, creator of Triplets of Belleville, and Jacques Tati, who wrote the partly autobiographical script. Having just watched a couple of Tati movies and gotten a feel for his comedy, this seemed about 10% Tati and 90% Chomet. Maybe that’s underselling it, since Chomet’s previous film was obviously Tati-influenced, with its dialogue-free physical comedy (not to mention the clip from Jour de Fete the triplets watch in bed).
There is a Tatiesque magician, tall guy, somewhat shabby, with an umbrella, a pretty good act and a fed-up rabbit. Rock and roll is in, and magic acts are out, so he finds himself unemployed. Invited to Scotland by a drunken fan, he meets a young girl named Alice, takes her to Edinburgh, but she has expensive tastes so he takes night jobs while trying to continue his magic career. Movie takes place around 1958-60, I think (Mon Oncle is in theaters), while the events on which it’s based would have been in the 40’s. In the end, the magician does not get the girl pregnant then abandon her. Instead she meets a nice boy closer to her own age and goes off with him, the illusionist quietly leaving town unmissed by his now-destitute vaudeville friends.
No spoken dialogue in any real language, just mumblings, like those animated shorts from weird countries that purposely include no dialogue so their movie can play festivals without need for subtitles or dubbing. Katy liked it alright but found it too sad, told me it’s at least better than Triplets, complimented the animation remarking on the characters’ physical presence, the heaviness of their steps.
Buy from Amazon:
The Illusionist Blu-Ray/DVD