The short film ”The Shadow of the Magician” (2010) is a journey through a childhood forest towards a deteriorating poorhouse, where we used to sneak in to play as children. The place is a complex of houses overlooking a field and it used to serve as an institution for the elderly and the weak, the mentally ill and the poorest people in the area. The place was called “Fattiggården” (“the Poor’s Estate”).
Then something happens by chance. I find something that I have never seen before in a building near the basement of the former mental asylum.
Boxes, electric wiring and strange games. Wings of an aeroplane. A book about butterflies and a world map. Cards on the floor with images of one man. Brought there by chance. Discovered by chance.
I found the story of a magician that had toured around Finland as a Tivoli- and Circus artist. His name was Louis Billing (1888-1980) and he performed e.g. as the White Sheikh Ben-Ali-Bey and in his “Black Cabinet” he made spirits speak and objects vanish.
My short film is a poetic documentary where a dead magician is brought to life amid all junk and scraps, pigment and dust.
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