Monday, August 08, 2011

The Last Circus

Like hand puppets, clowns get a bad rep in films (e.g. Pennywise in It, the clown doll in Poltergeist, Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight) and The Last Circus is no exception.

The Last Circus starts during the Spanish Civil War with the Republicans/Loyalists bursting into a theatre during a performance for children to recruit men to defend Madrid from the Nationalists/Facists. Javier's father, a clown, joins the fight armed with a machete and is taken prisoner. After the war he and other PoWs are forced to work on the Valle de los Caídos (a memorial to the Civil War).

The story jumps forward to 1973 Javier is now a clown and joins a small circus. Naturally he falls for the beautiful Natalia, the acrobat and girlfriend of Sergio the head clown, a vicious tyrant, that everyone including the circus owner, is scared of. Natalia unexpectedly returns the affections of chubby, wimpy Javier, enjoying the risks of two-timing Sergio. This precipitates the wroth of Sergio on both of them. Finally the worm turns precipitating open warfare between the two clowns in which Franco himself becomes colateral damage. The final denouement takes place 150 metres up on the cross above the basilica in Valle de los Caídos.

If we were Spanish we might understand that Sergio and Javier represent Facist authoritarianism and democracy/humanitarianism respectively and Natalia is symbolic for Spain itself (the prize to be fought over and attracted to both).

Overall I'd class The Last Circus as somewhat surreal, very violent and overly dramatic rather than funny or horrific or a thriller.

Ian's rating 1.5/5

No comments:

Post a Comment