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February 19, 2011

Notes From BIFF 2011: The Last Circus. ~ René Cousineau

Shot of The Last Circus from the BIFF program

I was never the type of child that had nightmares about clowns…

… But now I am, and all thanks to Alex de la Iglesia’s The Last Circus.

Before I begin, let me first pose a question: where was everybody for this screening? There was a fairly decent turnout but need I remind you good folks of Boulder, Colorado that when an international film festival comes to your town you best attend? Apparently I do. This is an opportunity to get out there and see some things that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to see. And maybe even some stuff that you wouldn’t normally choose to see.

Case in point. The Last Circus is a gratuitously violent, hyper-sexual, uncomfortably morbid tale about a love triangle involving a salacious acrobat and two completely demented clowns. Not something I would choose to put in front of a Boulder audience but, I personally think it played quite well to the crowd that showed up.

The film was beautifully shot—I know that this is such a vague comment but… it’s totally true. It was a complete wonder to watch. I swooned, and I gagged. The story itself was genius, I mean what more do you need to know outside of what I’ve already told you? If it helps, there’s also machete-wielding men in dresses, partial female nudity, full-on male nudity, explosions, decapitations, horse-tramplings, some (very funny) jokes made in very poor taste, lots and lots of blood, sex, bludgeonings… why in the hell weren’t you there?!

Maybe it doesn’t sound like your thing. It’s probably not. Maybe you’re scratching your head over how it could possibly be my thing. Well, it isn’t entirely. It had a few moments that were even a little bit much for me. For a simple story, it was quite lengthy and I did find some of it to be extraneous. But I still recommend it. Good movies take you far away from everything you’re familiar with and everything you’ve ever known. They show you something that you’ve never seen, or something that you never would see. The Last Circus certainly does all that, and it’s horrifying without being a horror movie. I think I appreciated that most of all.

René Cousineau was born and raised in Glenwood Springs, CO. She currently lives in Boulder and is a student of fiction writing and Russian literature. She spends her time reading, cleaning, hiking, dancing, and slinging cupcakes at a local bakery/coffee shop.

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