First it was Brad Bird. Now Sylvain Chomet, the director of The Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist, has switched over to live-action filmmaking. Chomet’s feature debut, Attila Marcel, will premiere tonight at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film is described as follows:
Paul is a sweet man-child, raised — and smothered — by his two eccentric aunts in Paris since the death of his parents when he was a toddler. Now thirty-three, he still does not speak. (He does express himself through colourful suits that would challenge any Wes Anderson character in nerd chic.) Paul’s aunts have only one dream for him: to win piano competitions. Although Paul practices dutifully, he remains unfulfilled until he submits to the interventions of his upstairs neighbor. Suitably named after the novelist, Madame Proust offers Paul a concoction that unlocks repressed memories from his childhood and awakens the most delightful of fantasies.
Chomet, who had earlier dabbled in live-action with a segment in Paris, je t’aime, explained the switch to live-action in an interview with the LA Times:
“I’ve always made animation as if it was a live-action film. I try to make it look almost real, the way it’s edited is not really like an animated film. I try to have continuity in between the shots like live action. I was always thinking of live action but came to live action through animation. That was a way for me to get into live action. Animation is filmmaking, it’s the same thing. And you really train as a director when you do animation. You get the eye, the sense of composition and timing. Live action is very similar to animation apart from animation takes ages and live action goes really fast.”
There’s still some hope for those who appreciate Chomet’s animation films. The Times said that Chomet currently has two features in development—one live-action and one animated—and he plans to make the film that gets funding first.