Watched Oct 16, 2011
Owen Hughes’s review:
French animated (mostly silent) film about an illusionist/magician who finds himself in Scotland as he tries to earn a living, only to develop a rather odd relationship with a young girl. There is little to no "proper" dialogue in the film and after looking it up on Wikipedia, I now realise why.
I knew nothing about the film before watching it, but it's based on a script written by Jacques Tati who was a French mime/comedian/actor in the 50's, but there's a bit of controversy about whether it's actually semi-autobiographical, and written like an acknowledgement of his estranged daughter who he never met, or not. Either way, it makes for a slightly uncomfortable relationship on the film. It never seems romantic, thank God, just a bit odd. It's not really that obvious that she believes he's a real magician. She just seems like a... well... a bit of a bitch! I kind of assumed that she thought he was a real magician. However, it wasn't very clear, to be honest. Quite purposefully so, I think.
It's all a bit weird. It's a bit quirky (well, it's French) and there are some funny bits in it, some sad bits, some heart-warming bits etc. And the animation is really, really good, but it's just... I don't know how to explain it properly... it's just ..... a bit.... soulless? That might be a bit too harsh.
It's a bit like looking at a painting of a painting. Whilst watching it, you're not quite sure if it's exactly what/how it's supposed to be, which isn't as odd as it sounds, I guess, as I found out afterwards considering it's someone else's film that they made. I haven't explained that very well but I'm going to give up trying now. Sorry. It's sweet, charming, and pretty.