French director Sylvain Chomet, best known for his animated films “Belleville Rendezvous” (a.k.a. “The Triplets of Belleville”) and “The Illusionist,” is set to premiere his first live-action feature in the U.K. next week. Though French trailers for the film have been circulating since last year, the English version has just recently been released at the 11th hour (we’re optimistic that’s not a bad sign, though).
Here’s the official synopsis:
Paul is in his thirties and lives in a Paris apartment with his aunts, a pair of elderly aristocrats who have raised him since the age of two, and who dream of him becoming a piano virtuoso. His life boils down to a daily routine spent at the grand piano in the salon, and his aunts’ dance classes where he works as an accompanist. Cut off from the outside world, Paul has grown old without ever having lived. That is, until the day he meets Madame Proust, a neighbor who lives on the fourth floor. This eccentric lady knows how to make a herbal infusion which, when combined with music, can stir the most repressed of memories. Thanks to her, Paul will discover the secret of his own past, and find the key to finally unlock his life.
Chomet’s 2003 debut feature (“Belleville”) is an amazingly understated yet moving film that, like “Marcel,” centers on a laconic orphan who opens up to the world via outside stimuli. In “Belleville” that means biking; in “Marcel,” druggy tea. Similarly in both, matriarchal family members care for the wayward youth. “Marcel” appears to diverge from “Belleville” there, however, exploring death, repressed memories and sex more directly.
It’s hard to deny Chomet’s distinctive eye for the eccentric. When working in animation, his films stand alone in their aesthetic—and as one of the few filmmakers working in animated films for adults, we hope he decides not to abandon the form completely. What will his crossover into live action bring? The trailer conjures hints of Michel Gondry, with a little Wes Anderson mixed in, though perhaps it’s way too soon to judge. Chomet has earned the benefit of the doubt with the short, yet impressive resume he’s crafted for himself thus far, and we’re hopeful “Attila Marcel” will expand this unique filmmaker’s repertoire.
Check out the trailer below. The film opens in the U.K. on Friday, no word on a U.S. date yet. [Film Divider]