Review: ‘Sex Magic: Manifesting Maya’

Scenes of nudity and penetration will limit broadcast, but DVD numbers should be magical.

Set within the tantric healing community, docu “Sex Magic: Manifesting Maya” centers on the Sedona Temple’s sacred sex shaman Baba Dez, forced into self-reflection when his beloved, Maya, leaves him, and fellow therapists accuse him of inappropriate use of his, uh, holy rod, in healing work. Exploring the rituals, beliefs and jargon-filled language of this very different faith-based group in a graphic but non-titillating way, helmers Jonathan Schell and Eric Liebman wind up with characters that recall the work of Christopher Guest. Scenes of nudity and penetration will limit broadcast, but DVD numbers should be magical.

Dez, who claims more than 1,000 lovers, built the Sedona Temple into a nonprofit religious organization and retreat center where therapists meet clients for sacred spot massage and other treatments. After Dez’s lover Maya Yonika decides that his polyamory is merely an excuse for promiscuity, he tries to manifest her return through “sex magic,” i.e. channeling his orgasmic energy with others to will her back. Helmers make effective use of video split-screen and the beautiful scenery of Sedona, Ariz., San Diego and Hawaii in a sturdy tech package with a bland music track.

Sex Magic: Manifesting Maya


A Holding Space Prods. production. Produced by Eric Liebman. Co-producer, George Danno. Directed by Jonathan Schell, Eric Liebman.


Camera (color, DV), Schell; editor, George Danno; music, Ryan Cross, Tony Austin. Reviewed on DVD, Chicago, Oct. 23, 2010. (In Chicago Film Festival -- Docufest; HotDocs -- World Showcase.) Running time: 80 MIN.


Baba Dez, Maya Yonika, Kamala Devi, Natasha, Jaiya, Lawrence Lanoff.

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