Sony Pictures Classics has announced that they have acquired all North American rights to Sylvain Chomet’s “The Illusionist” from Pathe. Based on an unproduced screenplay by Jacques Tati, the film won raves when it premiered earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival as a Berlinale Special Selection. Sony Pictures Classics previously worked with Chomet on his Academy Award-nominated film “The Triplets of Bellevile.”
“The story, set mainly in Edinburgh, Scotland, takes place at the dawn of television and rock & roll, featuring a circus of live performers who are on their way out as audiences embrace new types of entertainment,” indieWIRE described upon the film’s Berlin premiere. “With the film, Chomet has created more of an homage to Tati, rather than trying to replicate the French filmmaker’s work and create a movie that seems like Tati directed it. It’s a story infused with a mix of sadness, charm and humor as it looks back at a time of considerable change, offering a window into the ’50s. With very little dialogue — the French magician and the Scottish girl can’t communicate — the story unfolds in traditional pencil sketch animation.”
“Collaborating with Sylvain on ‘The Triplets of Belleville’ was such a fantastic experience; we are so thrilled to be back partnering with him again on ‘The Illusionist,’ as well as our friends at Pathe, and producers Bob Last, Jake Eberts and Philippe Carcassonne. With a moving storyline and a work of art in each frame, audiences both young and old will connect with this film,” stated Sony Pictures Classics.
“There could not be a better home for ‘The Illusionist,’ Sony Pictures Classics understands the strengths of Sylvain’s work and have the passion required to take the film to the widest possible audience. I am delighted to be working with SPC again,” said he film’s producer Bob Last in a statement.
The film is being planned for North American release toward the end of 2010.