From an unfilmed Jacques Tati (who is shown on a movie screen) script, The Illusionist tells the story of Tatisfcheff, (Tati's real name) a magician trying to get bookings and generally survive, as the twin forces of rock and roll and television take over (it's set in 1959). Similar in style to Chamot's earlier The Triplets of Belleville / Belleville Rendezous, but at a more relaxing pace. Tatisfcheff gets a booking in the Scottish Highlands, where he befriends a young girl called Alice, who runs away to Edinburgh with him, believing he can really perform magic. There's nothing sexual between them, and they are like father and daughter, staying in separate rooms while he performs in theatre. It's basically a Cinderella story, as the girl transforms from rags to riches (sort of), as the illusionist buys her clothes and shoes. She however, does not realise he is down on his luck, working odd jobs to make ends meet (and eventually pawning his magic stuff). He then sees her with another man more her age, obviously in love, and so decides to leave her with him, as she has now blossomed into a young woman.
It's about changes in life, and father / daughter relationships, probably based on Tati's own, hence the photo at the end. It's also about friendships, keeping up a cheerful façade no matter what life throws at you, and whether you really know someone when you are only presented with what they wish to reveal. Brilliant animation throughout, and Edinburgh looks fantastic in the way it is portrayed (as does the white bunny).
I loved it (hence all the photographs).