The magician starts his journey home from Edinburgh Waverley station. Still from Sylvain Chomet’s L’illusionniste.
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Consternation reigned in the BTWT tower when it became clear that there is no overall winner in our film competition. Much to our astonishment nobody identified our last mystery film as Sylvain Chomet’s L’illusionniste. This, the last appearance of Jacques Tati’s slightly jejune gentleman character (Mr Hulot’s Holiday, Traffic) albeit, albeit faithfully recreated in animated form, is a wonderful evocation of Britain about to be changed forever by the ‘swinging sixties’. There are many scenes of railway interest and Edinburgh never looked so attractive.
The film is a faithful tribute to Tati without ever becoming a pastiche. Based on one of Tati’s own scripts – which he never produced – it tells the story of two people whose paths intersect. The first is a magician of the music hall tradition, forced by changing public tastes to travel ever further – from cities to remote villages – to present his magic show. The second is that of a naive young girl, Alice, who still has the sense of wonder of childhood. The meeting of these two lonely souls is a tender and magical moment, but both are destined to move on…
Amazon currently have L’illusionniste available on DVD for £5.37. If you buy through our link below, a small contribution will be paid by Amazon to us.
A clip from our tie breaker.
With no one identifying L’illusionniste, Dyspozytor has notched up another point. The score is now: Gavin Whitelaw and Dyspozytor are in joint first place with 4 points; Mike Winslow is second with 3 points and Alex Fitch is third with 1 point. Since splitting a bottle of Zubrowka in two might be a tad difficult [We could always meet up and drink it together! D.] our competition board have decided to hold a tie-breaker. Today’s film has a great deal of railway interest, but is probably better known by cineastes than rail fans.