Bala Triste de Trompeta
2010, Álex de la Iglesia, Spain, 105 min.
With Carlos Arece, Antonio de la Torre
The political history of 20th-century Spain as represented by two psychotic killer-clowns? THE LAST CIRCUS is over the top even by the standards of Alex de la Iglesia (THE PERFECT CRIME, LA COMUNIDAD), the gonzo auteur of recent Spanish cinema. Beginning with a bloody last stand of circus performers during the Spanish Civil War, the story traces the lifelong rivalry between two clowns, one a sadistic exploiter, the other a sad patsy (but not forever!).
At the heart of the film is an audacious allegory of Spain’s battle between fascism and leftism, with the clowns’ masochistic, pole-dancing sweetheart (Carolina Bang) as the prize they fight over. De la Iglesia’s logic is sometimes shaky, but his visual inventiveness never falters. You will undoubtedly see more consistent films this year, but you might not see one with as many memorable images.
Winner of the Best Director and Best Screenplay awards at the Venice Film Festival. In Spanish with English subtitles. Special advance screening courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. 35mm widescreen. (MR)