Opening Night Gala / UK premiere

The Illusionist

  • Sylvain Chomet /
  • UK, France /
  • 2010 /
  • 83 mins

Jean-Claude Donda, Eilidh Rankin, Jean-Claude Donda / Animation / English, French

“Delightful ... thrilling ... a love letter to Scotland and Edinburgh in particular.” – Leslie Felperin, Variety.

As cheeky, boisterous and witty as it is delicately drawn and
beauteous to behold, Sylvain Chomet’s second feature film is a
winner on every level – and a perfect opening act for EIFF 2010.
Our weary hero is an over-the-hill magician, complete with less-than-
friendly white rabbit; their adventures are based upon an
unrealised script by Jacques Tati, the action of which Chomet
transposed to Scotland after he moved here in 2004. Always
in search of a paying gig, the illusionist treks from Paris to the
Western Isles to Edinburgh – acquiring, along the way, a
young travelling companion who sincerely believes in his magical
abilities. Rich with visual jokes, seductive 1950s period detail
and breathtaking views of city and wilderness alike, this is the
work of a master in his field – and one of the most gorgeous
evocations of Scotland in cinema history.

2010 Archive

Book Tickets

  • 16 June, 21:45 at Festival Theatre

    Sold Out

  • 27 June, 13:00 at Cameo 1

    Too late!

  • 27 June, 13:00 at

    Sold Out

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  • #1 Gary Fox / Monday 14 June, 2010 / 00:16 GMT

    Look's amazing
  • #2 George Philips / Monday 14 June, 2010 / 15:04 GMT

    The incredible real life tragic story behind Jacques Tati's The Illusionist that Sylvain Chomet spitefully would prefer the world not to know.

    "Love letter to Edinburgh" certainly not what the author had intended.

  • #3 Sara Muir / Thursday 17 June, 2010 / 16:17 GMT

    Loved it, not an illusion, but sheer magic, a tale beautifully drawn and amusingly and poignantly told Was so entranced I almost forgot how uncomfortable my seat was! Walking home afterwards over North Bridge, looking with fresh eyes out over the castle, the roof of Waverley Station, Carlton Hill and the skyline in general - the Edinburgh I had just seen so beautifully portrayed - I felt really quite chokedl and lucky to live here.
  • #4 Mike Hall / Thursday 17 June, 2010 / 18:12 GMT

    Silent-ish - albeit with the odd, annoyingly generic multi-lingual aside (think that irritating 'Nichole? Papa? Citroen advert) - animated film about a 1950's magician's voyage from Paris to Edinburgh via the Sottish Islands and Highlands. The struggle to find and retain work in a dying craft is beautifully depicted, especially in the final moving sequences when he leaves his rabbit on Salisbury Crags, and a poignant note for his young hanger-on saying 'there are no magicians'. It looks great - as other reviews have said, a real love-letter to Edinburgh in particular, although it veered into 'tourism tv advert' territory rather too much for my liking. The strength is in the beautifully-nuanced period detail. However, some of the farcical vignettes were cliched and rather dull, and the lack of dialogue meant that the limited storyline failed to hold my attention at times (not helped by the 9.45pm start - why so late?). But I can see why it was chosen to open EIFF this year, and it's a definite feast for the eyes.
  • #5 Gary Fox / Sunday 20 June, 2010 / 16:08 GMT

    I need to see this movie?
  • #6 Norm Richardson / Thursday 24 June, 2010 / 10:30 GMT

    Captures Edinburgh's changing light skilfully, and looks wonderful, but the story is too slight, and the nuances and life an actor might have given the characters don't necessarily translate well to animation.
    Would have made a delightful half hour visual feast, but even at a thrifty 83 minutes, it outstays its welcome slightly.
    Plus the girl was an ungrateful brat, who never gets brought to task for her selfish behaviour, but that's life sometimes I guess.

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