Screenplay by Gerrie Timmerman
A Jewish magician has to defy death to save his daughter
and the little girl of his stage partner during the Holocaust.
BEN ALI LIBI, growing up in poverty, is now a renowned Jewish magician, making a decent living in pre-WWII Holland and able to provide for his wife, his son and his disabled daughter. At times, his son participates in the performances, while his daughter watches from the front row with crutches at her side. When the Nazis invade Holland, everything changes. By appearing to collaborate with the invaders he averts deportation and is allowed to live at home with his family; while his disabled daughter, under the new Nazi rule, must be placed in an institution.
When the magician learns that everyone in the institution is going to be deported, he rushes to save his daughter. He is too late. When he arrives, the last truck is pulling out of the driveway, almost running him over. A few days later, German soldiers knock at his door and both he and his wife are forced into one of the many idling trucks sent by the Nazi’s to empty the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam. Ben Ali Libi manages to make a call to his son, and warns him to flee.
When Ben Ali Libi and his wife arrive in Sobibor, one of the worst death camps in Poland, they are immediately separated and his wife’s last words to him are, “Find our children”. The magician is standing on a platform, taking in the scene of German soldiers shouting and forcing people into rows, and weighs his chances. Will he be able to escape and save his son and daughter?
25 years later in a Dutch attic, a ten-year-old girl named AMANTHEIA, or Manny for short, is practicing the magic act that her magician father designed for her. She fumbles her way through the magic act, dropping the clothespins that will transform the color of the doll clothes on the wash line. She hears her father coming up the stairs and hurries to pick them up, but the magician has already spotted her mistake. “Let’s just forget it”, he says, “you have no talent whatsoever”, and walks away. Manny runs to her room, crying. In the ensuing weeks, she clearly withdraws from her family, becoming more sullen; sitting in the audience when her brother performs his magic acts with her father on stage. Her withdrawal continues and before father and daughter can make up, her father suddenly dies, and their bond seems to be broken forever.
Another 20 years pass by and Manny, now a disheartened woman in her late thirties, with a profound dislike of magic, arrives in Hollywood to start a second career as a filmmaker. When she uncovers a poem about a Jewish magician, who vanished in the Holocaust, she goes on a haunted search to make a documentary about him while trying to avoid the feelings about her past and her own father, the magician.
While on the search, it becomes clear who is leading whom on this search in a superhuman attempt to save a magician’s daughter.