Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Illusionist

(France, 2010)

When Jacques Tati died in 1982 he had directed only 5 feature films in a career spanning more than 40 years as actor, writer, producer and director. But he left behind this screenplay, written in the 1950s, that he never tried to produce because of some disputes with his family that I don’t want to get into. Eventually his daughter gave it to Sylvain Chomet, the incredibly inventive man behind The Triplets of Belleville. The result is as if Tati had returned from the grave, in animated form. Some people just don’t get Tati. His humor is so gentle, so subdued, that if you are looking for big jokes you should look elsewhere. But he created a screen character that I think is as unforgettable as Chaplin’s Little Tramp. Like all his films, this is a small bit of whimsy, and at the same time very poignant. Highly recommended.