Do you want to cry? You should watch The Illusionist. While it has its problems - mainly due to biopic reverence, as The Triplets of Belleville’s Sylvain Chomet was working from a long-lost script from Jacques Tati - it was a moving, O. Henry-like fable about what happens when time passes beyond your skills and your life. We live in interesting times right now, with jobs, skillsets, and purpose changing every minute, and it’s hard, sometimes, to feel like you’re not obsolete.
And it’s devastating.
I have a real affection for 2D animation, for animation that has the feel of being handcrafted in some form or fashion, where someone’s spending time on every little detail. It kind of hurts that Chomet’s classic (Belleville is brilliant) and The Illusionist both had to lose the Oscar to that year’s Pixar film as an inevitability. One year, I went to an Oscars party at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge. It was a fun time, filled with straight-up film snobs, so when Best Animated Feature was announced that year, Finding Nemo got a fair amount of hisses, whereas Belleville got cheers like it was a Red Sox game.
Tati’s surviving family is at war, somewhat, with Chomet. Interesting. Relevant? I don’t know.