“The magician Merlin had a strange laugh, and it was heard when nobody else was laughing. ... He laughed because he knew what was coming next.”
-Robertson Davies from World of Wonders. Bottle of Smoke, VIII
I have always been fascinated with the art of magic. Illusion is definitely a part of the experience. I try not to figure out how the trick works and allow a certain suspension of disbelief. I try to do that when I go to the cinema. I want to believe the illusion is real if only for the duration of the film.
There have been a few recent films that have renewed my interest in magic and the art of illusion.
All the Harry Potter films brought magic to life on the big screen. The Illusionist, starring Edward Norton, Rufus Sewell, Jessica Biel and Paul Giamatti, as well as The Prestige, starring Hugh Jackman and Michael Caine, were two great movies where illusion held reign.
Painting is a form of magic, too.
“Painting isn’t an aesthetic operation; it’s a form of magic designed as a mediator between this strange hostile world and us, a way of seizing power by giving form to our terrors as well as our desires.”
-Pablo Picasso from Francoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Life with Picasso, VI
Hal Borland in his book, Hal Borland’s Twelve Moons of the Year, published in 1979 by Random House, wrote about the magic of a winter’s night.
“Winter’s moon is queen of the sky. It hurries the sun to bed, banishes all but the brightest stars, and blazons the frosty night a full 14 hours in remote and solitary grandeur, glittering the hills and frozen valleys. It may dance a stately pavane on the frost-flowered surface of a silent lake. It may etch whimsical hieroglyphics on the snow beneath the naked trees.
The winter’s moon makes magic of the night, but it is a sharp and frosty witchcraft. The fox knows it, and so does the hurrying hare darting from shadow to shadow. The nightwalker sees it in his spangled breath, senses it in his whistling footsteps. The late home comer observes it in the shimmer of his rooftop, smells it in the slow curl of smoke from his chimney.
Midwinter moonlight is no hearth-glow reflected in the sky. It is the cold beauty of a whole winter wrapped and rimed into one long January night.”
It really is a remarkable, magical account of a winter moment frozen between the covers of a book you can curl up with beside a blazing hearth.
February also brings us the romantic enchantment of Valentine’s Day, which reminds me of this quote from R. G. Ingersoll.
“Love is the magician, the enchanter, that changes worthless things to joy, and makes right-royal kings and queens of common clay. It is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart, and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts: but with it, earth is heaven and we are gods.”
I hope you will enjoy this short film called The Statue.My thanks to The Canadian Daily for making me aware of this film.
It is illusion at its very best performed before a live audience. Jeff Dunham may have some serious competition.
Don Jackson – February 2015