special k and I went to see The Illusionist the other day – a wonderful/sad film, that made me more excited than ever to jet off to Scotland at the end of the month.
If you’ve seen other Sylvain Chomet films (like The Triplets of Belleville), you’ll know that he directs movement in a way that is only loosely connected to reality – but that is somehow truer for being free of constraint. In The Illusionist the magician vacates the stage for a jazz singer who moves from the spine and shoulders in a directional pull against her hips. Her feet are not drawn, she does not walk – she twists and glides across the stage. His cars never move because their tires go round, they move half-magic half-beast down streets and round corners because they have somewhere to be.
It struck me as an incredible way to show movement – as driven not by the mechanical process, but by one meaningful part. I didn’t think it would be possible to write movement in the same way until I came across this description by P.G. Wodehouse:
…the only signs of life visible were a cat stropping its back against the Jubilee Watering Trough…
[from Money for Nothing]