So, as part of the Book God’s combined 60th birthday and retirement celebrations he got to choose the film to watch while eating special birthday lasagna (home-made of course) and special birthday pink champagne. And because we both loved Belleville Rendezvous he suggested The Illusionist, also un film de Sylvain Chaumet.

Not to be confused with The Illusionist starring Edward Norton (also watched, enjoyed and reviewed here)

So, quick plot summary: old style French magician finding himself out of favour on his home turf heads to the UK and lands up on a Scottish island where a young local girl takes a shine to him, believing that he is genuinely magical. When he leaves to head for Edinburgh she follows him, an act that changes his life.

This is just a beautiful film, sad and funny, and exquisitely drawn, making Edinburgh look incredibly gorgeous. The story is based on an unfilmed Jacques Tati script and it would have been fascinating to see what his version would have been like. The story is set in the 1960s so there are several digs at old variety versus new pop stars.

I loved the air of melancholy that pervades the whole film, and the misunderstandings that arise between two people who don’t share the same language but still manage to muddle along. The scene with the magician, his rabbit and the soup was particularly amusing.

Very, very enjoyable.

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