Alex De la Iglesia is an excellent Spanish director . He had much success as "Accion Mutante" , " El Dia De la Bestia" , "Perlita Durango" and ¨La Comunidad¨ , among others . De la Iglesia is back with a tragical comedy about two Spanish clowns of the 70s . Here deals with a homage to dark humor and Spanish history from the Civil War until the 7os . In the film there are comedy, tongue in cheek, humor, horror, action, drama and is pretty entertaining . It's an exaggerated drama/comedy giving the perfect tone through the entire film , you can either follow it or just wander about the ridiculousness of every single minute . Some may regard this kind of dramatic comedy dull or dumb , but the truth is its the most simple, minimalistic, rawest, and pretentious comedy you will ever watch . As the shy Javier (Carlos Areces) and the violent Sergio (Antonio De La Torre) are two clowns who reach the heights of success with their circus show , but eerie events and an acrobat woman (Carolina Bang , partner is director Alex De Iglesia) turning them into deadly enemies . However, the hate between them grows as fast, and as much, as their horrible faces . The picture blends thrills , suspense, tension as well as an intriguing script full of dark comedy , drama and exciting situations . Packed with scenes of absurd nature, this story is a fantastic farce, as we follow the ridiculous careers of a pair of clowns whose destination is dictated by a fateful love , rather than by their own decisions . The film works on various levels and is constantly reconfigured , however contains some embarrassing , contriving moments and also certain excess . Strong performance from three protagonists , Areces , Bang , De La Torre and excellent plethora of secondaries as Manuel Tejada , Gracia Olayo , Enrique Villen , Manuel Tallafe , all of them usual actors in ¨Pluton BRB Nero¨ series produced by Alex De Iglesia . Interesting screenplay Alex De La Iglesia who usually writes his films and bears remarkable resemblance to ¨Dying of laughter¨ or ¨Muertos de Risa¨ also with two comedians -Gran Wyoming and Santiago Segura , Alex's fetish actor- who reach the heights of success with their spectacle, becoming them into huge enemies . Atmospheric and dark cinematography by Kiko De La Rica with a good camera work . Suspenseful musical score by Roque Baños . The motion picture is well directed by De La Iglesia . He's a cool director has got much success as ¨Accion Mutante¨, ¨Crimen Ferpecto¨and ¨Oxford murders¨, and winner of several Goyas (Spanish Oscars), however his movies have not yet reached box office in USA, but he has strong followers . Nonsense, ridicule , laughters , absurdity , terror , disturbing scenes .. and many other issues ; you can find everything in this movie . The movie is a lot of fun, especially for those who know the historical period . This is without a doubt a thrilling and thought-provoking movie to be enjoyed for dark humor buffs and Alex De Iglesia fans.
A magic tale of terror, dark humour and tragedy!! I think that this film is like a mix of Rodrigues, Jarmush and Kusturica... gripping and strong whilst dark, random and ghastly at the same time. Romantic and disgusting in one film. de la Iglesia beautifully makes the whole film look like a circus performance with all characters exaggerated to the point that even Franco looks like a clown. Though I appreciate that this film is probably not for everyone, I think that it's an original and interesting portrayal of, amongst other things, love and war during horrors of Spanish civil war - an interesting contrast to del Toro's "El Labiirinto del Fauno"!
"Balada triste de trompeta" (Sad trumpet ballad, in Spanish -I have no idea why they translated it as "The last circus", as it's much poorer) is none short of a masterpiece, in my opinion. It is also a 100% Spanish film, meaning it is a tragicomedy, a totally Spanish genre and it also expands between two crucial moments of Spain's recent history, full of tragic events -the Civil War, the killings, Franco's repression and dictatorship- but also full of grotesque details, situations and characters that were real and now, in retrospect, feel utterly ridiculous, much more so than they were at the time -e.g. when the dictator went hunting, they really prepared the prey for him so that he would look as a great hunter- or are just seen as a byproduct of the times that Spain had to live. Director Alex de la Iglesia also cares to sprinkle the movie with historical events that are apparently disconnected to the main story -like the assassination of Franco's hard man and presumed heir as the new tyrant, admiral Carrero Blanco- but which I believe serve a function to the main metaphor that this movie is.The movie starts in 1937, in the heat of the Spanish Civil War. A clown is recruited by force to fight with the Republican side, and manages to slaughter quite a lot of Franco's men. His young son, Javier, is traumatized by the whole event and later, in 1973, we meet him again as the new recruit in a circus, the Sad Clown. He can only be the sad clown because he is sad himself, and cannot make children laugh. They pair him up with the Funny Clown, a ruthless but charismatic man called Sergio, who turns out to be the partner to a beautiful trapeze artist, Natalia. Javi falls in love with Natalia and thus starts a rivalry between the two men for the love of a woman, with unforeseeable consequences.The narration is so filled with colorful characters, crazy comedy, crazy violence mixed with comedy or with surreal elements, historical references, and an underlying sense of tragicomedy, and it is so excessive and full of surprises, one can't help but keep watching, much as it is over the top in many an occasion. You can enjoy the movie at face value and ride the wave of the story for what it is, but you can also watch this movie as a summary and insight into the recent Spanish history and how Spain seems doomed to always be split in two, similar people, brothers, always rivalling and even hating each other, seemingly beyond reconciliation, connecting episodes of sheer senselessness and absurdity with spine-chilling episodes of hate and violence, and all of it boiling down to a tragedy that you can only laugh at because it makes no sense.I'm not surprised that Quentin Tarantino himself was so taken with this movie, and I wouldn't be surprised if an adaptation of this movie was made soon in an American context.
If you have seen any film by Alex de la Ingelsia, then you know that no two of his films are alike, that they contain a lot of humor and arresting images, and often a lot of graphic gores, and are the product of a very original mind. THE LAST CIRCUS is no exception. There are images in this film that will stay with you for years. The settings are many and varied, beginning with the Spanish Civil War in 1937 and winding up in 1973 on a War Monument that includes a giant cross and statues for an ending that will bring to mind Hitchcock's NORTH BY NORTHWEST. Along the way there is a nightclub dedicated to Telly Savalas called Kojak!Pedro Rodríguez has created two very different special effects makeups, one of a man who has self-mutilated his face with acid and a hot iron, and another by man who has had his face slashed with a grappling hook and then stitched back together by a veterinarian. Rodríguez is someone whose future work bears watching.The setting for much of the action is a traveling circus reminiscent of FREAKS crossed with Alejandro Jodorowsky's SANTA SANGRE. Clowns have always been pretty creepy anyway, but you will never look at them the same after this film.
After the really disappointing "Oxford murders", Álex de la Iglesia returns with not only his best film to date, but with one of the best films in the last years. "Balada Triste de Trompeta" is a romantic-over the top-violent melodrama which mixes Tarantino, Hitchcock, Fellini, Todd Browning and of course it also has a lot of previous Álex de la Iglesia films like "Acción Mutante" or "El día de la bestia". Two men, one good and one bad, fighting for the love of a beautiful blonde trapeze artist (the gorgeous Carolina Bang) in a downward spiral of love and madness that also serves as a historical recount of the last 75 years of Spanish history.
To watch this movie and enjoy it one must suspend all judgment.It doesn't pretend to show us scenes of everyday living, or the girl next door shopping at the supermarket.It deals with the same magic world that García Márquez deals with in his exotic novels. Marvellously created world. As thrilling as any Fellini movie. The circus world is the perfect setting for developing this view, between fantasy, nightmares and awful reality. The pacing is relentless, a thousand things happening during the 120 minutes or so, all of them linked within the main story and showing a whole range of human emotions among the three main characters: The Smiling Clown, The Sad Clown (his sidekick) and the beautiful trapeze girl, the object of jealousy, fury, rancor between the two clowns.Every scene is visually baroque in essence, since action takes place in the foreground but also in the background, with secondary characters.There is a full color palette, dazzling as an old kaleidoscope making all sorts of beautiful patterns that change in front of our eyes delighting us continuously.The acting is superb, from the principal actors to the last extra. The delivery of the lines in Spanish is done at full speed, clean as a whistle and sharp as a cracking whip by all the actors. The digital effects perfect. Top entertainment from beginning to end. What a SEN-SA-TION-AL movie!!!
Great movie. Not for everyone. At the very beginning you will know what kind of movie you are going to watch. Very dramatic, funny and terrifying. Has every ingredient, but you will find it difficult to classify it in a genre. The story is not different from what you've probably seen before, what makes the difference is the way it is told. 10 points for the acting. You actually feel the changes every character has as the movie goes along. The music also flows great with the film in every way, and creates fantastic atmospheres in every moment. The editing may be the weakest thing of the film. Anyway, great. You don't get to watch a dark funny film very often...
Laugh clown killA sad clown falls in love with a starlet – and challenges her misogynistic lover in post-war Spain.The logline above is far too simplistic for this multi-genre and multi-thematic film. Written and directed by Álex de la Iglesia, best known in the US for his 2008 feature THE OXFORD MURDERS, brings us a monster mix of mayhem that spans from the Spanish Civil War to 1973. Sort of like Tim Burton on a lot more acid.Soft-spoken Javier (Carlos Areces) survives the war to become a sad clown in a low budget circus. In the show, he plays second banana to Sergio (Antonio de la Torre), the happy clown who is ultra-hostile off stage and keeps the other performers walking on edge due to sudden tirades and extreme violence. His lover is the lithe Natalia (Carolina Bang) torn between Sergio's rage and the safety of Javier. Okay, that sounds like straightforward romance plot number one – but it doesn't come close. This tale engages war, politics, drama, comedy, horror and romance while exploring themes regarding obsession, response to trauma, politically induced Frankensteinian creations, and the failure of dreams within a fascist state. Fascism, whether it is Franco's or Sergio's, is the running thread that holds this wild fantasy together.Kiko de la Rica is the photographic genius that created one amazingly vivid cinematographic ride that even in the daylight never seems pristine or dreamy enough. The world is always tainted – darkened – by something from the edges as well as within the hearts of the characters, and his skill brings this to light frame after frame. The acting is absolutely brilliant and riveting, with Areces and de la Torre going toe to toe at every turn. I can only imagine how mind-numbingly drained the performances had left them. Then again, how could any actor in the film not embrace the quirky and enigmatic characters created by Iglesias? None of the characters were run of the mill or plucked off the shelf like so much Hollywood drek.However, though this falls under the realm of horror, I sincerely doubt many fans of the genre would embrace the movie. This is not because horror aficionados are stupid and only adore slasher films, but this is one of those movies that could easily make someone question the very definition of the genre. And with a multi-faceted feature such as this, horror plays a role, like a character, and does not permeate the tale.Regardless, there's something for everyone in THE LAST CIRCUS, and if you like freaky films that defy description, you should enjoy this riveting feature.
Greetings again from the darkness. Here's hoping I don't get booted from proper society for admitting a strange fascination and enjoyment from the latest directorial effort by Spanish cult favorite Alex de la Iglesia. The film is assembled with unequal parts: political parody, black comedy, dark horror, bizarre action and an even more bizarre love triangle. All of that and some of the freakiest clowns you will ever see! I am not really familiar with Mr. De La Torre's previous work but evidently he has quite a following in Spain, though he has found extremely limited success in the U.S. with The Day of the Beast. Neither am I an historical expert on the Spanish Civil War or the regime of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, both of which are targets of the director's true feelings. Still, the movie is such that it kept me engaged and even enthralled the entire time ... especially in Act I.The film begins in 1937 when a faction of the Republican Army crash a kids' circus performance and force the performers to join in the crusade. One of the clowns leaves behind a young son as he picks up a machete and destroys a platoon almost single handedly - while still in women's clown costume! It is a visual I have yet to erase from my memory.Forward to 1943 and the clown is forced into servitude constructing the famed Valley of the Fallen. His son tracks him down and is given "revenge" as the only redemptive action by his father. Flash forward to 1973 and the young boy is seen joining a traveling circus as the "sad clown". This circus troupe is run by the ruthless and sadistic "funny clown" who is clearly the filmmakers representation of Franco. The foreshadowing scene comes in the initial meeting between the two clowns as 'funny' tells 'sad' if he weren't a clown, he'd be a murderer. "Sad" responds "me too". Let the mayhem begin! The rivalry and violence escalates as Javier, the sad clown, is lead on and falls for the acrobatic girlfriend of Sergio, the funny clown. As the story moves forward both Javier and Sergio become more grotesque and violent in their attempts to capture Natalia the acrobat. It all ends with a breathtaking climb and operatic duel atop the memorial in the Valley of the Fallen.There is no way to describe the trip from machete clown to the tragic dance atop the cross. It is a mash-up of Inglorious Basterds, Freaks, Machete and Phantom of the Opera. Additionally, there are countless homages to classic films through the years and a nearly operatic feel to the story and some scenes. Singer Raphael's version of "Ballad of the Sad Trumpet" plays a role, as does a crumpled trumpet. I certainly see this one becoming a regular on the midnight movie circuit, and rightfully so. It has everything a viewer could possibly want ... provided they are in a mindless stupor and looking for the best available violent clown movie currently showing!