Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One last trick up his sleeve...

French film maker Jacques Tati passed away on November 5th, 1982, but it would not be until 2010 that his swan song would be played.  It would come in the form of an animated film by the wonderfully talented Sylvain Chomet, who wrote and directed the equally wonderful "The Triplets of Belleville", and be written by Tati himself.  It will be called "The Illusionist", and from what I have read and seen it should be the lovely send off Tati's career deserves.

Jacques Tati was born in Les Peco, Yvelines, France on October 9th, 1907.  He was not prolific, having only made six feature films and several shorts in his career. Never the less, he left an indelible mark on cinema with his clever, whimsical comedies and his immortal character, Monsieur Hulot.

For any fan of the silent film, Monsieur Hulot should be placed alongside Charlie Chaplin's The Tramp as an icon of the genre.  This is, of course, regardless of the fact that none of Tati's Hulot films were actually silent.  Though the characters around him spoke quite frequently, Monsieur Hulot could not be bothered.  He spoke through his body, letting his lanky frame and polite gesturing do the work for him.

Now, twenty eight years after his death, Tati's final film is being released.  It revolves around a magician dealing with his obscolescence.  The film's lead looks and moves just like Tati himself.  The animation looks amazing.  My hope for "The Illusionist" is that it does what "A Prairie Home Companion" did for one of my other favorite directors, Robert Altman:  Creates a poignant eulogy and a fine bookend for a brilliant career.


Jacques Tati's Filmography:
Jour de Fete (1949)
Les vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953)
Mon Oncle (1958)
Playtime (1967)
Trafic (1971)
Parade (1974)

The Trailer for "The Illusionist":

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