Magicians Documentary

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6742
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 6th, 2017, 1:53 am

I am going to say that—in my mind—Tim's Vemeer doesn't count because of its subject matter. There are many "magical" movies that are not magic. And if we consider those made by magicians, or even with appearances by magicians, then we must add Aristocrats. As much as I enjoyed the film, in particular Eric Mead's presentation of the joke, I'm not going to do that.

This is not to say that anyone else can consider any of these films in that genre. Vive la difference.

Of course Ricky's film does belong. That it slipped my mind when I wrote the original post was fascinating to me for a moment, then I figured out why it did: I don't recall learning anything new from that movie. I enjoyed it a lot, and I'm glad it was made. I was surprised by some of the things Ricky allowed to be shown in such a public arena, but I still don't know anything about him that I didn't know before. The same thing can be said about each of the magicians profiled. However, the laity (and that is who counts in this discussion) learned a lot from that movie, and I certainly should have included it above.

However: As good as Deceptive Practice is, I don't think that, even for the general public, it strikes the same emotional cords that Magicians does, so that gives this newer documentary the edge.

We will soon have another to discuss: Dealt, the long-awaited documentary about Richard Turner. It makes its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, on March 13.

Ted M
Posts: 884
Joined: January 24th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Dani DaOrtiz
Location: Madison, WI

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Ted M » March 6th, 2017, 1:28 pm

Nobody's mentioned Magic Camp (2012) -- easily among my favorite magic documentaries. It's full of joy and creativity, with some pain and struggle, fairness and unfairness. It's very human, and it's a delight.

Robert77
Posts: 33
Joined: February 26th, 2017, 4:17 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Robert77 » March 6th, 2017, 4:47 pm

Richard Hatch wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:The first is "Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay", and the second is "Tim's Vemeer" -- both of which I've seen, and Jonathan (perceptive as always) is correct in his assessments. But I don't know what he is talking about with respect to the third one, and also would like to know more.


My guess for the third would be this documentary:
http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/cat-da ... opsis.html
It does sound really bizarre and depressing!


Thanks to you all. These are all on Netflix (DVD only) and I've added them to the queue. Tim's Vermeer was already in my queue.

I may have seen this Ricky Jay movie...is this the one that ends with him exploding in anger at one of the filmmakers who doesn't follow instructions?

billmccloskey
Posts: 169
Joined: June 10th, 2011, 2:11 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby billmccloskey » March 6th, 2017, 5:31 pm

I found the documentary to be both brave and depressing. Very unblinking eye at the reality of magic as a profession. In many ways, Magic is the hardest of all the entertainment professions. Like stand up comedy, unless you are part of a team, it is long hours alone, on the road, and the skill required requires long hour, lonely hours, that really leads to isolation.

At least musicians have other musicians, and fans who are familiar with your work. So much of astonishment of magic relies on surprise factor, the magician is always facing a new, potentially hostile, crowd who more than not have no idea who you are. As Jon Armstrong says in the documentary, you hear a bad song, it is a bad song. You see a bad magician one time and then magic sucks for all time.

And to add insult to injury, magicians can't even show an audience what they practice so hard at. The carefully practiced, hours in the making, sleights and moves, you can't show anyone or bring attention to them. A musician can dazzle you with their virtuosity. Much harder for a magician.

Of course, the documentary was also tainted by the scandal that followed, and of course, the shocking death of Daryl.

performer
Posts: 2134
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby performer » March 6th, 2017, 5:57 pm

On the other hand a magician can work in all sorts of venues that another entertainer can't go near. A comedian isn't going to get booked at a children's birthday party. A singer isn't going to get booked to do walk around singing from table to table. A ballet dancer isn't going to get booked at a trade show. Magic must be the most versatile of all the entertainment arts. It is not all a bleak landscape.

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6742
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 6th, 2017, 6:40 pm

Robert77 wrote:I may have seen this Ricky Jay movie...is this the one that ends with him exploding in anger at one of the filmmakers who doesn't follow instructions?

No. That was a television movie called Hustlers, Hoaxsters, Pranksters, Jokesters and Ricky Jay that aired in the UK in 1996.

Stever Cobb
Posts: 16
Joined: October 21st, 2015, 12:08 pm
Favorite Magician: John Calvert

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Stever Cobb » March 6th, 2017, 8:31 pm

The Original Magicians;

Does anyone mention the original "Magicians" with Alan Arkin? The last scene?????

Jonathan Pendragon
Posts: 388
Joined: July 13th, 2010, 7:33 am

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » March 7th, 2017, 3:52 am

I believe it was called Cat Dancers, I saw it on cable years ago. I was struck by the many choices made by those who misunderstood what grand illusion really is and exactly the price one will pay when working with dangerous exotic animals... my left arm does hurts more in the cold here than in LA.

There were a product of the cat craze that struck Las Vegas in the 80s. Caveny would say, "Get a Cat, Go to Vegas." He also credits me with breaking the furry celling, I am not sure what to call it, to be the first Grand Illusionist performing at a major hotel who didn't have big cats. This was always seemed like lunacy to me: "really, have you seen the guys down the street?"

The part's too big, it's impossible to play 24/7 and yet so many of our best known, do. What does that cost in this thing you call life and what part of that life are you willing to pay for it?

Jonathan Pendragon
Posts: 388
Joined: July 13th, 2010, 7:33 am

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » March 7th, 2017, 3:56 am

Alan Arkin appeared in the film "The Magician of Lublin" (famous among magicians of the time for the "cup and ball" sequence). Be warned, this ain't Bill Bixby.

Roger M.
Posts: 1213
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Roger M. » March 7th, 2017, 12:16 pm

It could have been clever editing, but the almost immediate foreshadowing of the failure of Jon's marriage, the obvious dysfunction in Brian Gillis's relationship, and the incredibly uncomfortable to watch banter between JR and his manager was strong enough that it became pretty apparent early in the film that there would be no happily ever after conclusion to this movie, indeed that this wasn't a film designed to "boost" the image of magic in the eyes of the general public.

Despite editing that tried to show him with challenges and issues, David Minkin was obviously the most balanced of the group profiled.

I watched the movie a second time, as watching something more than once can often provide additional insight missed the first time around.

That second viewing confirmed that, at least for me - that this is one depressing movie with little positive to say (publicly) about magic at any level.
Much of that may have been a concealed intent on the part of the filmmakers, exacerbated in the editing process ... but the end result is a major bummer nonetheless.

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6742
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 7th, 2017, 1:47 pm

One of the things that became apparent to me after watching this film in a venue filled with mostly non-magicians, and listening to the questions posed to the filmmakers afterward, is that (as Marcie Hume said to me during one of our interviews) the laity and magicians do not receive this film the same way. Not even close. It does not diminish magic in the view of the general public. In fact, it creates a new level of respect since they had no idea that this stuff even existed.

Keep in mind that, to the vast majority of the general public, magic is about David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, and kid show performers. The middle level is simply not on their radar. To see that this level of the profession even exists is a revelation to them. And they learn that it is hard—damn hard—and that these artists make sacrifices to make a living with their art. That is their "take-away."

Why do you think that Brian, Jon, and David are still so actively—and enthusiastically—involved in its promotion? Jon Armstrong recently posted on The Facebook that he was recognized (and praised) by a barista in a European airport because of the international release of the movie. If it made them look bad to the people who pay their bills, they wouldn't be anywhere in its vicinity.

Yes, magicians find it sad and depressing. Fortunately, this movie was not made for magicians.

Dustin

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 23775
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 7th, 2017, 1:49 pm

I believe that it was the intent of the documentary filmmakers to produce exactly the movie they made: a definite agenda is evident. Good documentary film making presents facts, not an agenda through creative and selective editing.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6742
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 7th, 2017, 1:56 pm

You've said that to me many times, but have never explained what that agenda is. And now I'm curious about what is not factual in this film.

I have spent considerable time with Ms. Hume. As I see it, her only agenda was to show that artists—of any stripe—make personal sacrifices in order to make a living at it. I say "any stripe" because she and her co-producer feel that making documentaries also requires sacrifice at a similar level.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 23775
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 7th, 2017, 3:02 pm

Learn about the rules of documentary film making. The ethical rules.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Andres Reynoso
Posts: 198
Joined: December 22nd, 2010, 10:38 am
Location: Mexico D.F.

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Andres Reynoso » March 7th, 2017, 4:00 pm

I haven't watched the majority of this documentaries. I have to check if they are available in Netflix Mexico.

Just want to say that people seems to be offended with another "extrange" person enter their niche. I remembered when Burt Wonderstone was released and magicians exploded. As an amateur ballet dancer I saw the same reaction with Black Swan. All my friends got offended by the movie. I think I was the only one that liked it. Yes, I know, both of these movies are fiction, here we are talking about documentaries that must show reality. But my point is if people get offended by fiction stories I can imagine is even worse with material stated as real.

Several years ago, maybe 5 or 6 years, Hugo Ayala, Joaquin Ayala's brother, brought to Mexico "Make Believe". It was shown just one week on a goverment cinema that usually exhibits not so commercial movies, documentaries, festivals and art cinema. He told to me that he wanted to distribute it into a commercial movie brand, but it seems they weren't interested. The "premiere" was at full house. The vast majority of attendants were magicians, just some "outsiders". The movie was well received and Hiroki Hara was present that day, performing a couple of routines at the end of the projection and a Q&A session.
The laypeople was very happy, they couldn't believe they have just met one of the magicians of the film. They told that was lovely the way Hiroki Hara performed with stones and sticks on a rural Japan and how he constructed his mask.
I returned the weekend with my assistant. There were few people (all laypeople, any magician) and they enjoyed the film.
Andres Reynoso

Robert77
Posts: 33
Joined: February 26th, 2017, 4:17 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Robert77 » March 7th, 2017, 4:06 pm

Richard, given that many who've watched this have said that while it's a downer (for magicians at least), it seems somewhat accurate, how is it non objective?

Robert77
Posts: 33
Joined: February 26th, 2017, 4:17 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Robert77 » March 7th, 2017, 4:08 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:One of the things that became apparent to me after watching this film in a venue filled with mostly non-magicians, and listening to the questions posed to the filmmakers afterward, is that (as Marcie Hume said to me during one of our interviews) the laity and magicians do not receive this film the same way. Not even close. It does not diminish magic in the view of the general public. In fact, it creates a new level of respect since they had no idea that this stuff even existed.

Keep in mind that, to the vast majority of the general public, magic is about David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, and kid show performers. The middle level is simply not on their radar. To see that this level of the profession even exists is a revelation to them. And they learn that it is hard—damn hard—and that these artists make sacrifices to make a living with their art. That is their "take-away."

Why do you think that Brian, Jon, and David are still so actively—and enthusiastically—involved in its promotion? Jon Armstrong recently posted on The Facebook that he was recognized (and praised) by a barista in a European airport because of the international release of the movie. If it made them look bad to the people who pay their bills, they wouldn't be anywhere in its vicinity.

Yes, magicians find it sad and depressing. Fortunately, this movie was not made for magicians.

Dustin


Thanks for posting this Dustin. It reminds me, yet again, to open my eyes more and try to see things from different sides.

-Robert

Jonathan Pendragon
Posts: 388
Joined: July 13th, 2010, 7:33 am

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Jonathan Pendragon » March 7th, 2017, 5:09 pm

Dustin

We disagree on Vermeer. It's more than just a documentary ("film" is too broad a rubrics) made by magicians, it's a journey, a struggle, to find something magical, to solve a puzzle: "I can paint like Vermeer... ta da!" That's a magic trick. Imagine if he never revealed the method? It would be a much shorter piece, but because the artist wasn't classically trained, experts would be going, "WTF?" And we see the obsession, the dedication, the despair and realization of his dream.

Orson Welles' "F for Fake" is a magic trick disguised as a documentary. We are given illusion, trompe l'oeil, and a narrative device that fools us, but I would not include it here while arguing for "Vermeer's" inclusion.

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 3415
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby erdnasephile » March 7th, 2017, 7:35 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:One of the things that became apparent to me after watching this film in a venue filled with mostly non-magicians, and listening to the questions posed to the filmmakers afterward, is that (as Marcie Hume said to me during one of our interviews) the laity and magicians do not receive this film the same way. Not even close. It does not diminish magic in the view of the general public. In fact, it creates a new level of respect since they had no idea that this stuff even existed.

Keep in mind that, to the vast majority of the general public, magic is about David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, and kid show performers. The middle level is simply not on their radar. To see that this level of the profession even exists is a revelation to them. And they learn that it is hard—damn hard—and that these artists make sacrifices to make a living with their art. That is their "take-away."

Why do you think that Brian, Jon, and David are still so actively—and enthusiastically—involved in its promotion? Jon Armstrong recently posted on The Facebook that he was recognized (and praised) by a barista in a European airport because of the international release of the movie. If it made them look bad to the people who pay their bills, they wouldn't be anywhere in its vicinity.

Yes, magicians find it sad and depressing. Fortunately, this movie was not made for magicians.

Dustin


Hi, Dustin:

Points well taken. I agree: the message and impact of the movie, like most art, is often in the eye of the beholder. It makes perfect sense that a layperson who perceive things differently for the reasons you cited.

However, there is an additional facet to why as a magician, I felt the movie to be so sad.

It's depressing to me because I remember watching this live:




To watch a guy who can do that well apparently nearly lose everything is like watching one of your heroes get crushed.

The same holds true for Jon Armstrong--he's arguably one of the best and brightest magicians in the world; yet, the film gives the impression he's just scraping by. Again: one of my paragons with feet of clay. While I appreciate the film's (and Mr. Armstrong's) honestly, it hurts to see someone I admire having a rough go of it, even if they bear some culpability for their own situation.

Since a layperson would have no reason to know, much less admire these guys, it makes sense they would feel differently. (Sad as it is, I imagine the vast majority of non-magicians probably reacted to Daryl's suicide much in the same way, as opposed to those who knew him and truly grieve on a personal level.)

In summary, it's not only sad to me because the magic life looks so hard. It's also that watching people I admire going through tough times that makes it personal.

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 23775
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 7th, 2017, 7:50 pm

The magicians selected for the film, and the versions of their lives shown in the film, are all choices made by the film maker. The film has that "lonely loser" tone because that's what the film makers chose to portray. They can claim otherwise, but I don't buy it.
The fact that no tag line was added to the film about the pedophile just makes the dishonestly of what is ostensibly an objective view all the worse.

There is nothing objective about this film. The entire narrative has been edited to create a certain view. A view that really ignores the successful and positive side of magic.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Roger M.
Posts: 1213
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Roger M. » March 7th, 2017, 8:10 pm

agree 100% with Richard.

Even with the four magicians chosen, the film could have been edited to highlight the positive elements of their lives, and if done with enough commitment on the part of the filmmaker and editor- it would have been an entirely different (uplifting) film.

The "lonely loser" aspect of the film doesn't happen by accident, it can only happen by intent.

performer
Posts: 2134
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby performer » March 7th, 2017, 8:45 pm

I was hoping to get great gobs of schadenfreude watching this but in the end it wasn't that big a deal. It seemed to be quite a realistic view of professional magic and I imagine laymen would get somewhat entranced by it for the magic aspect alone. I was hoping to see starving magicians but they didn't seem to be starving at all. Or at least not as much as I wanted them to be. They didn't seem to be making any fortunes either but they chose that life and nobody forced them to do it. It seemed realistic and confirmatory. It also showed that it doesn't matter a toss if magicians admire and respect you and get down on their knees to worship you. As I keep saying being well known among magicians is on a par with being famous in your apartment building. Some of the best known performers that other magicians worship haven't got two pennies to rub together.

And oddly enough most of them don't impress me anyway. I have always termed these people "an elite sea of mediocrity" Not all of them of course but the remaining three percent isn't worth worrying about. Mutual admiration societies don't make great magicians I am afraid.

Excuse me for being cynical. Pitchmen have cynicism in their DNA.

performer
Posts: 2134
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby performer » March 7th, 2017, 8:57 pm

A lady I know once warned me never to let anyone make a documentary about me. I asked why and she said, "They will make you look bad. That is what they always try to do" I responded, "why would they make a magician look bad?" She replied, "You are no ordinary magician. You are a grafter" I should explain to the foreigners here (and anyone who is not British is a foreigner) that a grafter is what Americans call a "pitchman" for some unearthly reason. She continued, "Grafters are different. They duck and dive to make a living. They live on their wits and the methods they use to do this can be made to look bad and the general public will see what they perceive to be the bad side of you"

It doesn't just apply to magicians. I have seen documentary makers tear people apart who were daft enough to take part in these things. I still remember Michael Jackson torn to bits in some documentary or other that he participated in. And you don't even get paid to be torn apart!

User avatar
Tom Stone
Posts: 1238
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Contact:

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Tom Stone » March 7th, 2017, 9:04 pm

I thought the film was awesome, and that the participants were extremely brave in taking the risk of exposing themselves emotionally.

Sure, with a lot of hours filmed material, it is necessary to pick one angle, one point of view, some specific aspect to explore and dig into. Trying to cover everything in 90 minutes can't become anything else than bland and shallow.
I am happy that this become the chosen angle. The harsh and honest side, the dysfunctional parts, the humans behind the personas. The real, gritty, difficult and uneasy parts. Showing the sacrifices made in a less utopian way. In less than 90 minutes, these magicians became real breathing people that I as a viewer cared deeply and intimately for. Some parts were truly heartwrenching, and I can't really remember when a movie last made me feel this much.

I believe this film will turn out to be positive for the whole craft. People who've seen it will have a richer and deeper understanding of the art.

Tom Moore
Posts: 375
Joined: February 7th, 2012, 6:45 pm
Location: Europe
Contact:

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Tom Moore » March 7th, 2017, 9:49 pm

he fact that no tag line was added to the film about the pedophile just makes the dishonestly of what is ostensibly an objective view all the worse.


If they had then the public would have talked about it as "that paedophile magicians" film thus overshadowing the other story in the film and ruining the reputation of all the other participants as the tag will stick to all participants whilst the nuances of the situation would be completely lost. At least now if anyone googles it they get specific info that explains it's just that one participant and the damage is minimised. The producers really had no choice.
"Ingenious" - Ben Brantley: New York Times

thomasmoorecreative

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6742
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 7th, 2017, 10:20 pm

Several things led the filmmakers to the choice they made in regard to Rouven.

First, the film was finished well before Rouven was arrested. Second, the film had been shown at a festival very shortly after Rouven was arrested. The only thing that could be in a "tag" was his arrest: which is an allegation of guilt. What if the charges had been dropped or he was found innocent? (Yes, all within the realm of possible at the time, regardless of how one might feel about the charges.)

Third, the Rouven story was, and remains, primarily in Las Vegas. Google his name now and two media outlets come up: The Las Vegas Review Journal and the Las Vegas Sun. The producers believed—and so far correctly so—that the story would remain mostly sequestered there and in the magic community. Everyone they spoke to (other experienced filmmakers) told them to release the film as is.

What I am saying here has been made public multiple times in multiple outlets, including mainstream ones. The filmmakers are not dodging the question or doing anything dishonest. To suggest otherwise does not take all of these facts into consideration.

Another fact is that I have spoken to the filmmakers as well as two of the subjects of the film. Other than David Minkin wishing he had cleaned up his kitchen, they have said nothing about selective editing. What we see on the screen happened. Marcie Hume has said to me and many others that she, "made the film that was in front of me."

Are they all lying to me as well as everyone else who has questioned them about the movie at all of the screening Q&As that they have done? I don't think so.

Robert77
Posts: 33
Joined: February 26th, 2017, 4:17 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Robert77 » March 7th, 2017, 10:39 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:The magicians selected for the film, and the versions of their lives shown in the film, are all choices made by the film maker. The film has that "lonely loser" tone because that's what the film makers chose to portray. They can claim otherwise, but I don't buy it.
The fact that no tag line was added to the film about the pedophile just makes the dishonestly of what is ostensibly an objective view all the worse.

There is nothing objective about this film. The entire narrative has been edited to create a certain view. A view that really ignores the successful and positive side of magic.


When I saw this film I knew nothing about Jan Rouven. In fact I'll admit I was biased and thought the claim that Chris Angel had ripped them off, rather than vice versa, was bogus. I certainly knew nothing of his prosecution. And I can see no reason to include that as a post script UNLESS you wanted to make the point that magicians are losers.

My opinion, Richard, is that you seem remarkably sensitized to the issue of Jan Rouven and child porn. Note, I said "my opinion", and you know what they say about opinions. As someone who didn't know about Jan Rouven, I don't see that the allegations regarding his behavior relate to the movie.

Roger M.
Posts: 1213
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Roger M. » March 7th, 2017, 11:48 pm

Robert77 wrote:As someone who didn't know about Jan Rouven, I don't see that the allegations regarding his behavior relate to the movie.


Really?
How about the concept that, while the filming was actually taking place, JR was perpetuating abuse against children?
You don't think that's incredibly relevant to JR's story arc in the film?

Without a tag explaining his conviction, it would have perhaps been more appropriate to have edited JR completely out of the film.
Tags can be added anytime after the release of the film, obviously after accurate information becomes available.

    It's a good piece of filmmaking.
    It's not an objective documentary.
    It's a bummer movie to watch.
    JR should have been edited out of the film, or "outed" as the child pornographer he is, and was during the actual filming.

Tortuga
Posts: 85
Joined: April 4th, 2008, 12:55 pm
Location: Missouri

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Tortuga » March 8th, 2017, 9:55 pm

Robert77 wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:The magicians selected for the film, and the versions of their lives shown in the film, are all choices made by the film maker. The film has that "lonely loser" tone because that's what the film makers chose to portray. They can claim otherwise, but I don't buy it.
The fact that no tag line was added to the film about the pedophile just makes the dishonestly of what is ostensibly an objective view all the worse.

There is nothing objective about this film. The entire narrative has been edited to create a certain view. A view that really ignores the successful and positive side of magic.


When I saw this film I knew nothing about Jan Rouven. In fact I'll admit I was biased and thought the claim that Chris Angel had ripped them off, rather than vice versa, was bogus. I certainly knew nothing of his prosecution. And I can see no reason to include that as a post script UNLESS you wanted to make the point that magicians are losers.

My opinion, Richard, is that you seem remarkably sensitized to the issue of Jan Rouven and child porn. Note, I said "my opinion", and you know what they say about opinions. As someone who didn't know about Jan Rouven, I don't see that the allegations regarding his behavior relate to the movie.


Remarkably sensitized? Are you kidding me? Do you mean he shouldn't be? Lord help us. BTW you do know he had in his possession films of children as young as 3 or 4 according to authorities. Sensitized!
It's never crowded on the extra mile.....

Robert77
Posts: 33
Joined: February 26th, 2017, 4:17 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Robert77 » March 9th, 2017, 12:33 am

Tortuga wrote:
Remarkably sensitized? Are you kidding me? Do you mean he shouldn't be? Lord help us. BTW you do know he had in his possession films of children as young as 3 or 4 according to authorities. Sensitized!


"Sensitized." Yes, it's a word. It's in the dictionary.

Since I'm sure you don't seriously believe that this kind of thing is new in landscape of human history (or do you?) I'll just figure you're trying to make something of my comment rather than considering its content.

To put it plainly ...: yes, it's freaking bad. If you talk to any police officer they can tell you how common this kind of thing is. [edited for political content] ... Don't come play holier than thou with me.

Back to the topic at hand: Dustin has already responded to this issue better than I can.

User avatar
Sean-Dylan
Posts: 124
Joined: March 14th, 2008, 7:04 am

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Sean-Dylan » March 9th, 2017, 8:58 am

I found the tone of this documentary to be depressing and it was not what I was expecting. I watched this with 3 lay people and their reaction was the same. One of them even said to me, "No wonder you only do this part time."

I much prefer "Magic Camp", but I am biased as I was an counselor/instructor there for several years. It showed the passion everyone has for Magic and was very positive.

Just my take on it.

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 3415
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby erdnasephile » March 9th, 2017, 9:57 am

I just found out that "Magic Camp: Hogwarts for the Real World " is on Amazon Prime: https://www.amazon.com/Magic-Camp-Hogwa ... magic+camp

There apparently is also another movie entitled, "Magic Camp" coming out in 2017. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3979300/

Tortuga
Posts: 85
Joined: April 4th, 2008, 12:55 pm
Location: Missouri

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Tortuga » March 9th, 2017, 11:26 am

Robert77 wrote:
Tortuga wrote:
Remarkably sensitized? Are you kidding me? Do you mean he shouldn't be? Lord help us. BTW you do know he had in his possession films of children as young as 3 or 4 according to authorities. Sensitized!


"Sensitized." Yes, it's a word. It's in the dictionary. [edited]


I stand by my post. More so after reading you response.
It's never crowded on the extra mile.....

User avatar
Dustin Stinett
Posts: 6742
Joined: July 22nd, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Sometimes
Location: Southern California
Contact:

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Dustin Stinett » March 9th, 2017, 11:58 am

I have edited a couple of posts for content. Let's cool off, boys and girls. I think we all can agree that child porn is bad.

I find it fascinating that this thread has been hijacked by the subject of Rouven. That is one of the several reasons the producers didn't put in a tag: they didn't want the subject of Rouven's arrest to hijack the conversation of the larger subject of their film; something they were warned would happen by other, very experienced, documentarians (you know, the ones who recommended releasing the film as is, versus some of the "experts" here who think they know better than those professionals).

The fact is, you are seeing that happen here. This is not to say that the subject should not be discussed. But, because it is such a highly charged subject, it ultimately dominates the discussion to the detriment of all else. That makes it a discussion for another place and time.

Dustin

performer
Posts: 2134
Joined: August 7th, 2015, 10:35 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby performer » March 9th, 2017, 12:14 pm

I don't blame the documentary makers one bit. What gain would it be for them to bring attention to the Jan Rouven stuff? What the public don't know won't hurt them. Besides the documentary wasn't made for the benefit of all the daft magicians who like to gossip about this stuff. It was made for the public. I didn't think it showed the magicians in a particularly bad light anyway. It showed dedicated people who were willing to suffer for their art. And I don't think they were suffering that much. No worse than anyone in a 9 to 5 job.

If you follow virtually anyone around for months on end you will find all the same issues. It is not only professional magicians who get divorced or face financial problems you know.

Luigi Anzivino
Posts: 37
Joined: June 29th, 2008, 12:44 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Luigi Anzivino » March 9th, 2017, 1:24 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:The magicians selected for the film, and the versions of their lives shown in the film, are all choices made by the film maker. The film has that "lonely loser" tone because that's what the film makers chose to portray. They can claim otherwise, but I don't buy it.
The fact that no tag line was added to the film about the pedophile just makes the dishonestly of what is ostensibly an objective view all the worse.

There is nothing objective about this film. The entire narrative has been edited to create a certain view. A view that really ignores the successful and positive side of magic.


I don't think any piece of film making can be "objective," including documentaries. They always have a point of view, because that's the only way to tell a story. Even nature shows are not "objective," they set up situations and edit them to tell a story the filmmakers are interested in sharing. If you want something objective then you get security camera footage, not a movie.

It's clear that the portrayal of these magicians and magic as an art form and business model was intentional in this documentary, but that doesn't mean it wasn't true in the sense that it portrays very real aspects of life as a professional magician. In my view that makes it good, not dishonest.

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 7669
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY
Contact:

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Jonathan Townsend » March 9th, 2017, 2:27 pm

Seconding the "lonely loser" / "price of wonders" framing. Agreed about the " that's what the film makers chose" opinion. The sequence showing a guy changing shirts and leaving the hotel with luggage in tow may as well have been a film student assignment.

I'd prefer dropping the childhood issues topic unless folks here really want to discuss their own experiences. What you respond to and how you respond is "all about you".

Will look at Magic Camp when I get a free hour later this week or if the snows cancel work tomorrow - thanks for the reminder.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 3415
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby erdnasephile » March 11th, 2017, 2:22 pm

I watched "Magic Camp" last night.

I liked seeing the dedication of the counselors at the camp--Hiawatha plays a big role, and David Oliver also gets a lot of screen time. They really are committed to the young people and to magic. They are certainly not shy about dishing out the "tough love". During the counselors' meetings how much they truly care about the individuals in their charge comes out as well. I can understand why those of you who spent time in those Tannen's camps have such fond memories, and the film does a nice job of representing this atmosphere.

In terms of the campers themselves, IMHO, the "lonely loser" stigmata persists (including one segment with an apparently financially unsuccessful counselor); however, in this case, I think it's more palatable than in "Magicians". What teen hasn't struggled with feelings of alienation and feeling like you're the unique square peg? Here, at camp, they have a chance to spend time with their true tribe, and the movie helps make it clear there is a sense of belonging that is perhaps elusive for many of them at home. It's easy to have sympathy and empathy for them--you want them to be good! This is in stark contrast to a couple of the protagonists of "Magicians", whom that film implies have not yet outgrown this difficult stage of life. The young peoples' honesty, naivete, and vulnerability are probably the most interesting parts of the movie.

There is some inherent drama as the film follows along the finalists in the camp's concluding competition. They are a nice mix of personalities, and each is given some screen time to further delineate those along with the particular personal challenges they face. It's fun to see the teens think through the counselors' advice (and with one participant, too much feedback). It's also enlightening to see the ways in which they rebel against it--although I'm not so sure the take away message in a prominent case is most optimal. Still, life is life, and the filmmakers should be applauded for eschewing an unrealistic happy little bow.

One thing I didn't see much of was great magic. The various acts shown were "OK", but nothing gave me that Moritz Mueller feeling. I don't mean to diminish how hard the campers worked, because it's clear that most gave all. It's just that no otherworldly talent declared itself in the film, IMHO.

I think "Magic Camp" may have limited appeal to the general public who may be tempted to dismiss the campers as just a bunch of needy nerds. However, those who can still relate to young folks (with all their strengths and foibles) screaming repeatedly: "Magic is my life!", will likely enjoy it.

All in all, it's a worthwhile watch.

User avatar
erdnasephile
Posts: 3415
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby erdnasephile » March 11th, 2017, 6:31 pm

Since we are mentioning other magic documentaries we like, one of my favorites is:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1541136/

(but I am biased since they are part of my history)

Also, R. Paul Wilson's Our Magic is outstanding: https://www.amazon.com/Our-Magic-Johnny ... =our+magic

Robert77
Posts: 33
Joined: February 26th, 2017, 4:17 pm

Re: Magicians Documentary

Postby Robert77 » March 11th, 2017, 9:55 pm

Andres Reynoso wrote: I remembered when Burt Wonderstone was released and magicians exploded. As an amateur ballet dancer I saw the same reaction with Black Swan. All my friends got offended by the movie. I think I was the only one that liked it.


I just watched Burt Wonderstone on DVD and loved it. It's sort of the magic version of The Legend of Ricky Bobby.


Return to “Buzz”