The illusionist is a dying breed of stage performer. Ever since rock and pop stars have taken away slightly more than his bread and butter, his worsening economic situation has forced him to accept questionable engagements in dubious basement venues, at garden parties or in bars and cafés. In one of these obscure establishments – a village pub on Scotland’s west coast – he meets an innocent young girl named Alice. The encounter changes his life completely. Alice is just as delighted by his magical tricks as everyone else watching the illusionist that night. The performance has been arranged in order to celebrate the advent of electricity on their remote island. But, unlike the others, Alice is completely captivated by our hero and is convinced that his tricks are truly the result of magic. She follows the illusionist to Edinburgh and keeps house for him while he performs at a small local theatre. Delighted by her enthusiasm for his art, he rewards her by ‘conjuring up’ ever more generous presents. Unable to imagine anything worse than disappointing Alice, the illusionist can’t bring himself to admit that he cannot really perform magic – instead allowing himself to be bankrupted by the constant present-giving … The sad yet salutary romantic tale of THE ILLUSIONIST is based on a screenplay by Jacques Tati.
by Sylvain Chomet
United Kingdom / France 2010
Jérôme Deschamps (Owner of “Les Films de Mon Oncle”), Macha Makeïeff (Owner of “Les Films de Mon Oncle”), Sylvain Chomet (Director), Robert Fischer (Moderation) The Illusionist Berlinale Special · Press Conference · Feb 16, 2010