Wednesday, May 08, 2013

SFIFF: Deceptive Practice

The New People Cinema was packed on Monday night for the showing of Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay  at the SF International Film Festival. This documentary profiles Ricky Jay, magician & authority on the arcane. We see how he learned his craft from older magicians, in a kind of master-apprentice relationship. The film is lightly entertaining & includes interviews & clips of performances by Mr. Jay & others. The audience especially enjoyed a clip of Mr. Jay scamming Steve Martin in a game of 3 Card Monte. It was also fun seeing Mr. Jay as the 7-year-old Ricky Potash, billed as the youngest magician on tv, performing a particularly bad magic act with supreme aplomb. Mr. Jay is clearly guarded about his family & personal life, & the filmmakers do not penetrate his public persona.

The screening was introduced by festival programmer Sean Uyehara, & co-directors Molly Bernstein & Alan Edelstein were present for a Q&A. We learned that it took them many years to win Mr. Jay's trust. Neither of them is an expert in magic, & they were inspired to make this movie by seeing Mr. Jay's show & by Mark Singer's profile of him in the New Yorker.

§ DECEPTIVE PRACTICE: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay
dirs: Molly Bernstein & Alan Edelstein
USA, 2012, 88 mins.

The 56th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival
New People, Sun, May 5, 6:15p
New People, Mon, May 6, 8:30p

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