Hat-tip to Hollywood-Elsewhere
Magnet has picked up U.S. distribution for mad (and criminally overlooked in the States) Spanish shock-cinema auteur Alex de la Iglesia's "Balada Triste," re-named for English-language markets as "The Last Circus." It's the story of two Spanish circus clowns - a "sad" one and a "funny" one - driven to violent conflict and mutual insanity as they vie for the affections of an acrobat during the brutal Franco dictatorship. And it looks INCREDIBLE:
Alex de la Iglesia is a "Troma-but-with-talent" guy in the vein of early Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro, Sam Raimi, Robert Rodriguez, Tarantino, etc - but his stuff hasn't yet managed to gain traction with U.S. audiences.
His "best" known release in the West was probably the fantastic "800 Bullets;" about a troubled rich kid who goes looking for his grandfather - a stuntman from the Spanish-filmed Eastwood "Spaghetti" Westerns whose fellow former cowboy bit-players turned aging drunken nutcases have reworked the decaying sets into a makeshift tourist attraction. Here's a trailer:
It strikes a weird balance between Spielbergian childlike-imagination worship (he has to help the cowboy actors become "real" outlaw heroes to defend their "home" from evil developers led by his coldhearted-businesswoman mom) and vauge-misogyny (it edges toward implying that the kid's behavior issues are the result of an overly career-focused mother and an absent father figure, and posits a gang of violent gun-toting drunkards and a stunning prostitute who's a little TOO friendly to a pre-teen boy as suitable substitutes) but the end result is pretty damn cool.