Sunday, June 19, 2011

Let "The Last Circus" Trailer Wash "Green Lantern" Out Of Your Mind

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.


The Partisan said...

What the FUCK did I just watch?!?

...And give me MORE!

Avistew said...

It looks insane and awesome. Apparently coming out on Wednesday here, thanks for the heads-up.

Sofie Liv Pedersen said...

I really really want to watch that movie now...

Why aren't the big name danish directors so facinating and child-like.. I mean, fair we actually have a couple making names, most noticeable Lars Von Trier... though quite frankly, I never got into his style, I never liked his movies, how-ever this edging to child-like fantasy wonder mixtured with the disturbing gritty terror, it hits home with me.

Heard about Del-toro's stop motion Pinocchio project.. now there's a movie to dread.

Pinocchio always frightened me to dead, mix De-toro into that crap and I am so going to watch it in cinema while probably having nightmares for a month.

Rook in the Pumpkin said...

Oh wow, that looks amazing. Though violence against women is always hard to stomach, I trust the exploitation serves a purpose in the expression.

Thanks for sharing.

Arturo said...

This movies look awesome!!

Mads said...

@Sofie, and the discussion of danish cinema in this vein:
What about "I kina spiser de hunde" and the movies like it that came about in the late 90'es and early 00's?

"Blinkende Lygter" seems very much concerned with the child-like fantasies of it's characters. It's also an f'ing amazing movie, and absolutely worth looking at if you're not danish. If you end up liking it, there are 5-6 or so other danish movies done in the same tone that I'll gladly recommend.

As for Lars Triers movies, well, he's arguably our biggest director...but I think his movies seized being movies a long time ago, and became Triers plaything. Particularly in his last one, Antichrist, it was evident.

Seen as a movie, it doesn't make a lick of sense by the end, it's inconsistent, and it appears to be straight-faced exploitation cinema of the absolutely lowest form.

But if you consider it a work by a director with an amazing pedigree, one who considers his audience a plaything, and who has fully mastered the ability to craft subtext, it becomes completely different. The movie isn't about anything that happens in it, so much as it's about why a director like him chose to make it this way. At least, that's my reading.

In a sense, if you pay to go see his movies, you just keep fueling his ego trip; they don't have a lot of innate quality anymore, they only have quality because they were made by him, and our expectations of him.

But hold on. If you want good cinema by him, even with that same child-like sense of wonder you see from the above directors, the danish television series "Riget" and "Riget 2", altogether 8 movie-length episodes, is filled with the good stuff. It was all directed by von Trier.

It seems he simply outgrew interest in making cinema like that.

Dav3 said...

Thanks for the heads up, Bob. I saw "800 Bullets" on your recommendation and absolutely loved it.

I thought it had a certain variety of artistic integrity that says, "If you don't like this, that's your problem", which is a rare attitude in these days of hundred-million-dollar productions that have to water everything down in hopes of turning a bigger profit.

This, on the other hand, looks completely out of it's f-ing mind!

... in the good way, though.

Sofie Liv Pedersen said...


First all, I am talking from after the thousand change.. that's 11 years ago now, so that seems like a pretty long time for me, and it's hard for me not notice the nose dive cinema movies have taken since then (Especially in the family and childrens department.)

I hate to say it.. I don't like. "I kina spiser de hunde." and "Blinkende Lygter."
Personally I think they play the "Gross it out and weird it out so it must be funny." a bit to much.

How-ever, I have to admit to adore "Adams Æbler."

The thing with comedy is that it's subjective, and that is what these movies are, they play it for comedy, which is fine, just didn't hit home court with me.

And hell, better be warned, you are talking to the one single person in all of Denmark who simply can't stand. "Terkel I knibe." everyone else loves that movie, I don't, I really hate it, it traumatized me as I was in an see it as an meager eleven year old. And to make it worse, I think. "Anden på Coke." is the best damn thing Anders Matthessen have ever done and love every second of it, all though I know most other people find it to be a weak show.

So yeah, I would never pretend my opinions, especially on comedy, to be anything else than subjective :/

Avistew said...

I liked De Grønne Slagtere but I have to admit it's the only Danish movie I can even think of >.>

Sofie Liv Pedersen said...


Hey, it is Denmark we are talking about, it is a little tinny tiny country with a grant total of five millions inhabits..

The mere fact that Danish names is constantly popping up when talking movies here and there, we are slowly infiltrating hollywood.. somehow. It's impressive and unbelivable, and that all film geeks in the universe at least knows who Lars Von Trier is and have seen one dark danish comedy at some point, again, beyond amazing. It's not like you can mention that many big Russian movies you know of is it? And that country is like ten times bigger than Denmark! We are actually doing better than any other scandinavian country in this department at current time.

"Melancholi." May be a seriouse contender for Oscars in best Foreign picture, and if that happened, that would be fourth year in a row a danish movie were nominated, not to mention, a danish movie won that baby last year, which makes it a grant total of four different movies who won a oscar for best foreign movie, ergo, we are not that inept in making movies, and personally, just makes me happy that everyone in geeky culture seems to know of a tinny tiny country called Denmark X)

akkuma420 said...

Wow... That looks awesome.

Mads said...

On Denmark:
Denmark is enormously overrepressented on the internet, in hollywood and in a fair number of other communities. When it comes to movies, that's undoubtedly partially due to some fairly massive government subsidies...but I've no real idea why so many of us pop up on random internet forums, but from what I've tallied, it's not uncommon for 5-10% of a forum to be made up of us. It may also simply appear that way because we're a little bit too proud of ourselves, and we fill up the comments on other peoples blogs with endless digressions into our nationality all the time. Strictly talking about myself here, of course :D

First all, I am talking from after the thousand change.. that's 11 years ago now, so that seems like a pretty long time for me

Wow, now I feel old. That's a new feeling, ironically.

Anyway, Adams Æbler is from 05, so there's that. Avistew, you should check it out. But, as Sofie said, the humour can be hit and miss. I apparently fall for it more regularly than she does. On the other hand, I was 14 when blinkende lygter came out; my sense of humor probably couldn't be any lamer, so uh, there's that.

Oh, another good one is "Kusten at græde i kor". Read it as a book, movie is good too. Mixes up serious aspects and humour very well.

Oscar said...

This reminds of Alex de la Iglesia "Muertos de Risa" (don't know if it was re-named for your markets). It is about two one-gag comedians getting increasingly paranoid and trying to kill each other over jelousy issues.

Coincidentally, "Muertos de risa" was the name "Shaun of the Dead" received for Latinamerican audiences. That always confused me.

Angry Man said...

That went from looking like one of those serious drama cannes movies to looking like an insane absurdist thriller

Opi said...

It's interesting to see anyone outside (or even inside) Spain praising a Spanish Film. Yes, we've had some good'uns, but in general Spanish cinema is pretty unsuccesful, specially in Spain itself.
I'm glad to see that there are indeed GOOD Spanish films out there, and although I don't consider myself Spanish (yes, legally I am, but it's complicated. I have principals) I'm proud that a country so close to me (whether I like it or not) is producing some pretty good content. It is, however, a pity that Galician cinema has no popularoty whatsoever. As a Galician myself I would ofcourse like to see more films in Galicia and with true Galician spirit. And although Galicia is officially part of the Spanish State, it's a country in itself with a whole different culture and even it's own language. So Bob, maybe, if one day, a Galician film is dubbed or subbed in English, may I recommend you of all people watch it? I know you are more than an enthusiast when it comes to films and if the mentioned film is halfly decent you may learn something that most American's have never had to deal with (like f.e. a dictatorship in a country where you don't belong that oppresses you and your language just because it's not THEIR language or culture.)
Anyay. I've said enough. Hats off to de la Iglesia and i hope to see more non-american films as good as this.