There is great excitement surrounding the new movie The Illusionist. It is an animated film that took several years to complete, and has used the city of Edinburgh as the backdrop for most of the movie. It is estimated the movie has already brought in approximately £10 million. The Edinburgh Film Festival is also enthusiastic about the release, and commented that the Oscar nomination of this film will not only bring attention to the film industry in Scotland but also the city, as many film enthusiasts will be mesmerized by the magical Edinburgh portrayed in the movie.
The film begins in 1959 Paris where an aging illusionist begins to face up to the reality that younger acts are beginning to take over, and eventually finds himself and his faithful rabbit performing in a pub on a Scottish island. This is where he meets Alice. A small act of kindness on the part of the illusionist, buying her new boots, sees her grab onto him and the pair find themselves in Edinburgh together, performing in a small theatre. A father-daughter relationship begins to blossom. During this relationship, audience members will see the changes in both characters. What makes this film truly unique is the fact that there is almost no dialog throughout. While the storyline is emotional and uplifting, the soft tones of the movie brings the city of Edinburgh to life like no other, with breathtaking architecture, streets lined with quaint shops and an atmosphere of progress and adventure.
The Illusionist was written by Jacques Tati and adapted and directed by Sylvain Chomet. Creative director for the Edinburgh Film Festival, Mark Cousins, commented on the brilliance of the movie by saying: “There have been some great Edinburgh films in the past like The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Trainspotting, but they have been more about the characters rather than the city itself. I don’t think there is any other work of art I’ve seen which captures Edinburgh. In terms of cultural tourism I can see it having the biggest impact of any film made in Scotland since Braveheart.”