Sylvain Chomet / The Britoons

The Illusionist

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Director Sylvain Chomet's 2010 film The Illusionist, his second animated feature following The Triplets of Bellevue, is based on a sketch by Jacques Tati and shares the French filmmaker's sad charm. Equally sad and charming is Chomet's musical score for the film, which serves the story by having both French and Scottish flavors to it. (The French aspect comes up right away in "Chanson Illusionist," while the Scottish element is heard in "London Iona.") A British rock group called the Britoons plays a few songs ("Molly Jean," "Love of Another Man," "My Girl Blue") that sound like they date from the 1960s British Invasion. Elsewhere, Chomet either comes up with cues in a cool jazz mode à la early Miles Davis or contemplative piano themes with another instrument, a flute or bassoon, added. ("Fakir" responds to a plot point by suggesting Indian and other Middle Eastern styles.) The music is functional, and it serves the small-scale, melancholy treatment of the story.

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