May 25, 2011

When life loses its wonder, all it takes is one person who still believes in magic.

L’illusionniste is a simple story about an old magician, who finds that magic in life in a girl who becomes captivated by his illusions. He takes her to the city of Edinburgh and showers her with tricks, fancy shoes, and other luxuries that she in her remote Scottish island never knew about.

What the old magician doesn’t realise is that in the process of showing this girl the magical life in Edinburgh, he casts illusion on himself into believing that he can continue to enjoy this new life with her. But it was a happy moment while it lasted, for an old magician like him rejected by the alienating society, very touching, warm, and memorable moment.

Until the lights go out and magic is no more

L’illusionniste is a soft and subdued work. Almost no words are spoken in the film. What we have instead are characters speaking emotions. Background art couldn’t be more charming, where simple shots of a rainy London street or a lively and atmospheric pub in a remote Scottish island says about the sense of place more than any dialogue can. The film certainly takes its time in story-telling but it gets there eventually, and if you can allow yourself to just sit back and enjoy these touching moments against gorgeous backdrops, then you will be treated to a deeply moving tale rich in emotions.

13 Responses to “L’Illusionniste”

  1. yousain Says:

    I watched this movie about 2 months ago. The animations of the movie and the background art are just beautiful. The lack of dialogues wasn’t missed at all since I don’t think it would have added anything to the story.

    I’m still saddened by the ending, but at least it was a good one.

  2. Omeca Says:

    Where can I watch this?

  3. coburn Says:

    I’m always glad when people have seen this film, it’s a real treasure. With the ending, it’s wonderful to see what I agree is a subdued story going for a real cinematic swoon to cap things off. Not to mention, nice to see HNS back in action!

  4. gaguri Says:


    They sure are beautiful, and yes I don’t think spoken dialogues would have mattered one bit, since that wasn’t the language the movie was concerned about at all, the director deliberately kept every conversation jibberis. Ending was sad, but a good one, the kind of one that resonates with you as the credits start rolling.


    It was screening long time ago in Europe I think last year. I managed to find a way to watch it myself through other means recently.


    A treasure indeed! You know with the ending, it’s interesting when the old guy decides not to give away the long pencil and chooses this time to give a normal one. It’s kind of sad. What if he did give her the long pencil, and showed this girl a brief moment of magic in life? Did he think it wasn’t worth it because it’s not real, that it’s an illusion, just like how his happy moment in life turned out to be an illusion? It’s very subdued, but there’s lot of bitterness beneath this very warm and touching story.

  5. Jack Says:

    Oh wait, you’re blogging again?

    It actually happens to be that I recently picked this up from my local library. As the film tells the majority of it’s story visually, and there isn’t even a lot of story in this movie, it’s all so subdued and low-key, for the most part.

    That makes it kind of difficult to write anything about the piece beyond “I liked this movie” and “it had breathtaking animation” both of which are true but don’t explain very much about why it’s enjoyable.

  6. gaguri Says:

    whenever I watch something I like to talk about, this is still happens to be the best place to do it 😀

    I don’t think you have to explain why you like it, for me something simple like ‘good drawings’ is good enough reason.

  7. kadian1364 Says:

    Ah, I see what I’ve been doing wrong. I’ve been searching for “The Illusionist” and all the hits I get are for the 2006 movie with Edward Norton and Jessica Biel.

  8. Martin Says:

    Oooh…another post. Are you back to a regular-ish writing schedule again?

    I saw a short review of this on TV a while back, and for all their criticisms I still felt I’d enjoy it. I first heard of the director when The Triplets of Belleville was first out on DVD, but something about the character designs was REALLY offputting. It’s probably really unfair of me, but I never did get around to watching that.

    The Illusionist, on the other hand, sounds like one I’d really enjoy from what you’ve outlined here. I’ll add it to my Lovefilm list ASAP.

  9. gaguri Says:

    Hehe don’t count on any regular schedule Martin, but I’m glad every now and then there are still something good enough to make me to write about.

    The Triplets of Belleville I would argue has better artistry overall, but not nearly as accessible as L’Illusionniste and remember, L’iLLusionniste isn’t exactly the most engaging movie.

  10. Ryan A Says:

    Sounds charming.

    L’illusionniste is a soft and subdued work. Almost no words are spoken in the film. What we have instead are characters speaking emotions.

    I believe this alone is enough for me to find a solid interest. Thanks for sharing. ^^

  11. gaguri Says:

    no prob d(^_^d)

  12. sora Says:

    I just came across your blog and loved it… Hopefully you will write again someday ^^

  13. Mimi Says:

    I just discovered your blog too and wish you were still writing. So fascinating to read!

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