The dawn of film provided an outlet for those already in show-business. A large number of these creators were magicians, who saw the possibility of pushing their shows into new, more impossible directions using the power of editing, and thus the “trick film” was born. The most famous of these is Georges Melies, known for A Trip to the Moon. But there were many more doing the same thing.
The thing is though, that these were “trick films” or a “cinema of attractions”, attempting to wow the audience through spectacle. There’s a lot to be said for this in comparison with our current narrative based cinema where we are asked to believe the action on screen, instead of being aware of its artifice. However, the majority of these films missed out on the possibility of using their unique look and structure to connect with deeper themes. One such missing element is politics.
When studying them then, I decided to make a film that used the sensibilities and aesthetics of the trick film and combine this with my contemporary views on modern politics and art’s role in this. And that’s: The Magician.