Last night, I went to see Sylvain Chomet’s animated film The Illusionist (L’Illusioniste) on its opening day for general release in the United States. Today, it was nominated for a César, France’s equivalent of an Oscar. A coincidence? I think not. I think my presence was noted by the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma. The Illusionist is based on a script by French director and actor Jacques Tati that was written but never produced. This is not a Disney kids’ film. It is based on musings about the end of a career and the nature of magic. My favorite part is the Scottish girl edging her way into womanhood who discovers the transformative power of a great pair of shoes – first red Mary Janes, then white pumps. Since I have had a love affair with red shoes since I was about four, I can relate!
Today’s expression, à prix d’or, (a pree door) literally means for a golden price, but literally means “for a fortune.” Prix also means prize, like the César. It cost a fortune to make this movie – about $17 million and reviews have been mixed. I thought the animation was the most beautiful that I have ever seen, even if the story line felt a little unresolved. I wish Chomet well on award night, February 25.
Updated on January 26, 2011 – The Illusionist has also been nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Picture.
- Concept Art From Sylvain Chomet’s ‘Triplets of Belleville’ Prequel ‘Swing Popa Swing’ (slashfilm.com)
- CGI Meets Hand-Drawn Techniques in This Hopelessly Romantic Disney Short (theatlantic.com)
- L’Illusioniste (mhbd.blogspot.com)