Vancouver International Film Festival – Final Round: Mute magicians and the women that love them

The Illusionist. Directed by Sylvain Chomet.

I thought I’d end my VIFF experience with something of a more populist bent, rather than the indie doom and gloom that I’d been subjected to throughout most of the festival. Sylvain Chomet is one of the most talented film makers working in animation today. He’s probably best known among North American audiences for directing the Triplets Of Belleville, but he’s also a well respected comic book artist.

The Illusionist is an extremely simple story: A down on his luck magician travels to Scotland to resurrect his career. While there, he meets a young girl, and she sees in him an opportunity to get out of her small town life.

It’s one of those rare animated films that doesn’t pander or talk down to it’s audience. It’s also one of the most visually dramatic and beautiful movies I’ve seen this year. Everything is hand drawn. By real people. The attention to detail is stunning, and while it’s not going to provide the chills and spills a western animated blockbuster would, is a must-watch for true fans of the medium.

Rating: A-

(Originally posted at

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