Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Magic Camp

Monday night at DocFest at the Roxie I saw Magic Camp, a documentary about Tannen's Magic Camp, a week-long summer camp for magic geeks that takes place in what looks like an old English castle at Bryn Mawr College. The campers are overwhelmingly teenage males, & the film focuses on 5 of the most committed, who arrive with professional aspirations & hopes of winning the camp's magic competition. The filmmakers record fragments of classes, coaching sessions, performances, & random social interactions. Both the kids & camp staff can be embarrassingly earnest. We get small hints that for many of the campers their immersion in magic is an escape from difficult family backstories. They are real adolescents & not performing prodigies.

SF DocFest photo IMG_20130617_203354_zpsab4271e8.jpg A lot of the film is shot in low light & has the blurry look of a homemade YouTube video. The sound recording is similarly fuzzy, & some of the dialogue requires subtitles. Mood music plays under most scenes. The screening was held in the Roxie's uncomfortable 2nd theater. I overheard someone behind me say that they felt like they were in an airplane. Somehow the house lights came on prematurely during the movie's epilogue. The theater was at capacity, & the audience was amused by the film's many demonstrations of adolescent awkwardness.

§ Magic Camp (2012)
dir, Judd Ehrlich
USA, 85 mins.

12th Annual SF DocFest
Roxie Theatre
Mon, 6/17 7:00 PM

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