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LAST CIRCUS, THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Having lost his father and his childhood in the Spanish Civil War, Javier (Carlos Areces) has always wanted to be a clown like his father and grandfather before him. Now grown up, Javier becomes a Sad Clown in a circus that is run by an obsessive, violent clown named Sergio (Antonio de la Torre). He falls in love with Natalia (Carolina Bang), the beautiful acrobat, but she belongs to Sergio. The competition between the two clowns becomes more and more intense as they each try to win Natalia's love.

Review by Louise Keller:
Definitely not for the faint hearted, this extravaganza of excess, violence, macabre humour and surreal horror is at times like a nightmare David Lynch would be hard pressed to fathom. Cult director Álex de la Iglesia has created a bold and unforgettable scenario involving macabre clowns, killing and revenge that forms an overly colourful palette. Winner of the best director and screenplay awards at the Venice Film Festival in 2010, The Last Circus aims to shock - and shock it does with graphic violence and the disturbing juxtaposition of unexpected elements. Brilliant, bizarre and occasionally insane, the film does not always work as it shoots its ideas as if from a canon.

The first things we hear are squeals of children's laughter as two clowns entertain children in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. The nerdy kid of one of those clowns, who grows up before his time, is intent on following in his father's clown footsteps.

In 1973, the kid Javier (Carlos Areces) has grown up, taking on his first job as a sad clown in a circus, alongside Sergio (Antonio de la Torre), who is every bit as twisted as Javier. If they weren't clowns they would be murderers, they tell each other, a fate which soon awaits them both. The circus acrobat Natalia (Carolina Bang) is catalyst of their descent into depravity, prompted by Sergio's violent obsessive jealousy.

The world of the circus reeks of the bizarre with midgets, an elephant called Princess, a donkey painted like a zebra and a dare-devil ghost rider ready to take risks. But it is when Javier gets involved in the relationship between Sergio and Natalia that things go crazy. Both clowns become dreadfully disfigured in scenes that are shockingly graphic.

Then faces from the past appear and revenge is unavoidable as the action descends into sheer mayhem and surreal madness. I watched with a mix of horror and fascination to discover the fate of the sad clown - amid laughter, screams and tragedy.

Published October 5, 2011

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

LAST CIRCUS, THE: DVD (MA15+)
(Spain/France, 2010)

Balada triste de trompeta

CAST: Carlos Areces, Antonio de la Torre, Carolina Bang, Manuel Tallafé, Alejandro Tejerías, Manuel Tejada, Enrique Villén

PRODUCER: Vérane Frédiani, Gerardo Herrero, Franck Ribière

DIRECTOR: Álex de la Iglesia

SCRIPT: Álex de la Iglesia

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Kiko de la Rica

EDITOR: Alejandro Lázaro

MUSIC: Roque Baños

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Art direction: Eduardo Hidalgo hijo ; Set direction: Federico del Cerro

RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Melbourne: June 23, 2011; Sydney: TBA

PRESENTATION: 16:9

SPECIAL FEATURES: Trailer

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

DVD RELEASE: October 5, 2011







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