Watch before viewing The Illusionist

With The Illusionist heading to Irish cinemas, looks at four films of the french persuasion to get you in the mood….

The Illusionist is set for release on Friday and we bring four crucial films, with a bit of a French influence to get you in the mood for the big day.

It is a story of a magician called Tatischeff, one of the last real stage performers before the era of concerts and rock shows took over, with his career dwindling and his shows suffering from bad reviews and low turnouts, he desperately accepts a drunken offer to perform at a small pub in the Scottish Highlands.

Here he meets a girl who soon becomes his travelling partner and the spark that he needed in his life. The magic of the film is not in Tatischeff’s tricks but in the fact that this movie has very little dialogue but its message and sentiment are clear for all to see and understand without words being spoken, pure magic.




It is one of the Disney shorts screened before their big blockbuster movies. ‘Presto’ screened before Wall.E and is the story of a magician called Presto and his stubborn white little rabbit, Alec Azam. Minutes before Presto is set to go on stage and perform with the testy little fluff ball, he forgets to feed Alec and the rabbit is not about to let him forget about that juicy carrot.

The rabbit soon takes over the show, turning every single one of his matters tricks against him, usually with painful and humiliation results for Presto who grins and bears it all for his audience.

Directed by Doug Sweetland, Doug is by no means a stranger to the world of Pixar as one of their chief animators this was his first role as director and he also offered his voice talents to those of both Presto and Alec.



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Vianne Rocher, is the enigmatic and magical confectioner who stumbles across the sleepy French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, there alongside her six year old daughter Anouk, she opens a chocolate shop and drags the once sleepy town out of its slumber and into a new world filled with magic and wonder.

With every bite of chocolate, every ounce of delicious cocoa, a new story begins and Vianne and her creations manage to even help some of the villagers with their lives, rekindling a spark between old lovers, encouraging a man to confess his undying love, save a woman from her drunken abusive husband and even sweeten the bitter old crank who enjoys meddling in others affairs.

Her work is hampered by the sermons of the conservative town Mayor and her own affections are spent on a riverboat traveller Roux.

Starring Johnny Depp, Judi Dench and Juliette Benoch, Chocolat is story of love, magic and mouth watering chocolate.




Amelie is perhaps one of the most loved and better known French films to break out of the world of French cinema and make a name for itself internationally. It also helped to catapult actress, Audrey Tatou onto the world scene, Audrey playing the main character Amelie. The film revolves around the plans and adventures of an eccentric and energetic woman called Amelie, her days are spent working in a small cafe, enjoying the small pleasures in life and visiting her father.

One day Amelie discovers a time capsule belonging to a man who she tracks down and gives the box to, on seeing his reaction Amelie decides to do more in the world and help the people around her, whether that’s teaching the local grocer to be more polite, finding love

for a customer and co-worker or helping an old man enjoy life.

While there might be no actual magic in the story, it really is a story filled with the belief that there is something magical about each person. Amelie is perfect for a rainy day when you’re feeling blue and need a serious pick-me up!




Les Triplettes de Belleville



Nominated for two academy awards, Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, Les Triplette de Belleville is the combination of Canadian, French and British work. Released in 2003, the film was praised for its animation, a style that many thought had now been replaced by CGI, the film is beautifully drawn and is a reminder of many of classic cartoons we watched growing up.


It is the story of Madame Souza and her grandson Champion and their dog Bruno. Champion, trained by his grandmother has become a successful cyclist and has entered the Tour de France spurred on his grandmother’s coaching. However the athlete is kidnapped and brought to the city of Belleville where he and other cyclists are to be used by the mob for illegal gambling. Desperate to save her grandson Souza enlists the aid of three former music hall singers, the Bellevilles, and with the help of Bruno they set out to stop the mob and rescue Champion and the others.