Filmmaker Aaron Schock hits the road with Gran Circo México, a family of contortionists, stunt riders, clowns and animal trainers who have been travelling the back roads of Mexico for generations. Music by Calexico.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2011
Schock captures the beauty of the performance traditions they uphold, while a rousing Calexico soundtrack rejoices in the romantic mix of flight and longing that is a life on the road. But the film is also attentive to the inherent family dramas: ringmaster Tino’s children have absorbed his love of the hardscrabble circus life to varying degrees, but for his wife, Ivonne – a town girl who fell for the dashing circus boy – the romance has come at a cost. — BG
“Gilliam-esque whimsy meets the evening redness of Peckinpah’s West in a dusky gem of a documentary... Switching back and forth between the weightless beauty of the big-top and the parlous financial and familial situation backstage, it’s a crisply shot, emotionally frank and genuinely moving glimpse into a way of life that has become almost too fragile to continue.” — Adam Lee Davies, Time Out
“‘The circus is tough and beautiful,’ says one talking head in Aaron Schock’s documentary… It’s an apt description of the film itself, a riveting patchwork of interconnected family dramas – difficult in-laws, money-driven arguments, the tensions between honoring family tradition and forging one's own path. Schock’s camera – he does lovely work as the cinematographer – follows the Ponce family (who’ve been in the circus biz for more than 100 years) as they tackle the vagaries of a life that’s intrinsically hard-knock, all while working toward a final image that's both triumphant and sad.” — Ernest Hardy, LA Weekly