Tuesday, June 17, 2014

SF DocFest: An Honest Liar

The Roxie Theatre was packed Sunday night for the SF DocFest screening of An Honest Liar, an entertaining & provocative profile of magician & paranormal skeptic The Amazing Randi. The 85-year-old Randi has had serious medical problems in the past few years, so it was exciting to notice him taking a seat in the row behind me shortly before the movie began. The film tells the story of his career, with a particular focus on his notoriety as a debunker of pyschic claims. We see many clips of his TV appearances, as well as present day interviews with him & his colleagues. Footage of faith healer Peter Popoff, exposed by Randi here in San Francisco, is intense. Also fascinating are the hoaxes Randi perpetrated on scientists studying psychic phenomena. Surprisingly, the filmmakers got an interview with Uri Geller, who boasts how Randi has been unable to destroy his career. The film's other thread touches on his life with Deyvi Peña, his partner for over 25 years. The audience applauded a scene showing their wedding last year. In a twist that's almost too good to be true, the relationship turns out to harbor a deception at its core.

The festival audience gave Randi an enthusiastic standing ovation when he went to the front of the auditorium for the Q&A. Also present were co-director Tyler Measom, editor Greg O'Toole, interviewees Alec Jason & Adam Savage, & Mr. Peña. Randi was as quick & funny as he appears in the film, & he was happy to share with us how Uri Geller manages to bend spoons. He also stayed after the event, happily posing for fans outside the Roxie. The film plays once more at the festival tonight.

§ An Honest Liar
Dirs: Tyler Measom & Justin Weinstein, 2014, USA, 90 mins.

SF DocFest 2014
OSA, Sat, Jun 7, 7:15 PM
Roxie Theatre, Sun, Jun 15, 7:00 PM
Roxie Theatre, Tue, Jun 17, 7:00 PM

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