Famously tight-lipped magicians may never reveal the secrets to their acts, but this delightfully entertaining film from the Netherlands suggests that might sometimes be for the best when dealing in reality too. A charmingly klutzy father, Koos, and his magically ambitious son, Ben, take up a life as small-time, popular magicians. The magic takes on a life of its own when well-meaning Koos discovers the secret to a disappearing act—something he chooses to keep under wraps, much to his son’s dismay. However, Koos forgets to uncover the most important part of the trick: how to make their young assistant, Sylvie, reappear afterward. As days pass with no sign of her, Ben must devise a plan to save his family, his father’s future, and the reputation of magic.
Joram Lürsen’s The Magicians examines the illusions of family life, without cheapening it with unrealistic relationships. Thor Braun’s portrayal of the young magician, Ben, rings most true when he’s escaped into a world of magic on stage. In a reversal that kids will likely appreciate, the younger set proves to be more grounded than the adults (including Sylvie’s divorced parents). Sometimes the illusion is more important than the reality.
CICFF screens The Magicians in Dutch three times: 11am Saturday, October 22, at Max Palevsky Cinema, Ida Noyes Hall (1212 E 59th St.); 10am Thursday, October 27, at the Patio Theater (6008 W Irving Park Rd); and 11am Sunday, October 30, at the Music Box Theater (3733 N Southport Ave, musicboxtheater.com). Recommended for ages 9–12.