The Illusionist is an animated film concerning an aging magician trying to continue his line of work as the 1960’s start to blossom and leave him behind, a dusty relic of pre-television and rock band days.
Jaques Tati script and the animators have modeled the magician, M. Tatischeff, rather straightforwardly on Tati himself, Tatischeff being Tati's original surname. Tati’s physicality was his signature in his own films when he played a character called M. Hulot in Mon Oncle, and Mr. Hulot’s Holiday among others. Tati was a tall man who gave his Hulot persona pants that were a touch too short and a strange, forward-tilting gait that lent a crazy momentum to his walk. He often seemed like he was trying to keep balance on a listing ship though he was standing on terra firma.
The Triplets of Belleville, moving caricatures, often ugly but never uninteresting.
|From The Triplets of Belleville|
The Illusionist, the world is changing around Tatischeff, but this doesn’t present him with a chance to make mischief. It depresses him that no-one wants to see his act anymore, and the people who do show are not impressed. For this magician, the changing times force him to find work so he can continue to produce coins out of thin air for the little girl who is growing into a young woman who wants things like dresses and shoes.