Documentary on ZDF: The German magician Jan Rouven “The Man with Seven Lives” was on stage. He celebrated triumphs in Las Vegas, where he is now in jail on charges of child abuse.
Berlin – A lifelong dream seemed to have come true, even surpassed. Jan Rouven, a young illusion artist from Frechen near Cologne, had reached the Olympus of his industry – in the American gambling paradise Las Vegas (Nevada).
With his show “The New Illusions” he thrilled his audience six times a week from 2014 in the 1200-seat theater “Tropicana”. He was hailed as the successor to the legendary magician duo Siegfried & Roy. Together with his partner and manager Frank Alfter, Rouven, who was the darling mother-in-law, acquired a magnificent villa with a pool and celebrated some truly intoxicating parties there.
But at the beginning of 2016 the soap bubble burst. The US investigative authority FBI searched the property of the then 38-year-old German. The police found more than 3000 files with child pornography of the most brutal kind, according to the statements of employees. At the end of 2019 a federal judge said: “Your show is hereby ended in this courtroom.” She sentenced Rouven to 20 years in prison and a heavy fine. All this describes the documentary “Scandal in Vegas – The dark secret of the magician Jan Rouven” by Michael Gärtner. The second shows the ZDFinfo production shows as a repetition in the night from Friday to Saturday at midnight.
The topic gets under your skin and is shocking. Especially in times when this form of violence against children, which is becoming more and more acute due to the exchange of data on the Darknet, is also in the headlines in Germany. Like in 2019 after the discovery of the abuse case in Lügde and currently the major abuse case in Münster (both in North Rhine-Westphalia). Filmmaker Gärtner (“Metamorphoses – The Wilderness Returns”), born in 1967, shows what is happening in Las Vegas in the usual, quickly cut documentary mix of excerpts from TV reports and archive material, with re-enacted scenes and quotes from interviews with witnesses and companions such as Rouven’s husband Alfter.
The police and the judiciary may not have shed sufficient light on the darkness either. Because Rouven, who had in the meantime admitted the acts accused of him, again protests his innocence. “I’ve never been a pedophile. I was never interested in that, ”he explains in January of this year in a telephone interview played on the show. The files were left behind by house guests – he himself had no knowledge of them, since he was mostly high. But the authorities are convinced that it was the illusionist who, as user “Lars45”, offered and requested such abysmal image material. “It breaks your heart,” says a member of the FBI of what’s on it. dpa