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The Magician (1967)
"Fokusnik" (original title)

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Title: The Magician (1967)

The Magician (1967) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Credited cast:
Zinoviy Gerdt
Svetlana Kharitonova


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A Natural Man in the Unnnatural Russia
21 May 2010 | by (Taiwan) – See all my reviews

The film "Magician" ("Fokusnik" in Russian) was made by one of the best Russian directors, Pyotr Todorovsky.It stars the unique and pretty much underrated Zinoviy Gerdt (also known as the leading actor in the world famous Obraztsov puppet theatre), the young and vibrant Olga Gobzeva (who later changed her career and life having become a nun),Alla Larionova (the then greatest star of the Soviet cinema),and the late Evgeniy Leonov in a small role of the protagonist's boss.

The plot is simple: a professional second-rate conjurer , kind-hearted and not very much down-to -earth middle-aged man, raises a daughter and finds consolation and fulfillment doing his regular tricks and just talking to students in their dormitory.He does not seek fame,nor does he seek money: he wants people to be happy.

The material well-being is the last thing he cares about.So, when he meets a charming lady intrigued by his unusual character, he succumbs to her charms at first, but soon realizes that he cannot and does not want to change himself for her sake.

The unusual thing for the Communist propaganda was the fact that the hero was not a "builder of Communism", neither was he ideologically poisoned by the reds.No wonder, the film was hushed up by the censors at that time and almost forgotten by now.

The mention should be made that the 60-ies of the XX-th century were the happiest years for the Soviet cinema, no matter how monstrous this statement can seem.Just remember "The Elder Sister", 1966, starring the gorgeous Tatiana Doronina,"Let Us Live Till Monday" 1967 with the great Vyacheslav Tikhonov,"The Wild Dog Dingo" 1962,with Galina Polskih,"My Little Brother"1961, etc.The remarkable thing was that in spite of heavy pressure from the Communist ideologists,the talented directors did make great films not conceding an inch of their artistic freedom.

These people and their films deserve to be remembered lovingly: they are part and parcel of the recent past of the "evil empire", which has now been reduced to a third world corrupt princedom with the petty thieves at the helm.

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