(spoiler alert)THE LAST CIRCUS(spoiler alert)
if you are looking for another health ledger joker type performance you want to see this film! if you have a morbid fear of clowns this movie will give you righteous justification to validate it. if you want to see priests near execution ditches, nuns administering water on battlefields, raging clowns with machetes and insane popes wielding guns then the last circus is for you.
in the very beginning you are immediately without any introduction thrust into the middle of the story just as how when in the film the circus, while performing a show, is suddenly taken over by a militant army. as a result all of the clowns became soldiers. instead of offering laughter and joy they are forced to offer sadness and death. in a sense their clown days were over. this was no laughing matter. this was no joke at all. there was no pun intended. many lost their lives to the war and there was no going back. that was the last show they would ever perform in. that was the last circus!
never have i witnessed so much horror, beauty, love, passion, violence, humor, and history war elements unified together so perfectly in one single film. the last circus has probably the best cinematography to date and the most metaphor ridden and parallel driven contrasts in a single movie such as the comparison between dictators, horror figures and comedians, the use of clowns in place of soldiers; a happy clown and a sad clown in place of political governmental regimes, the use of sensual love towards another in place of the desire for world domination, the use of circuses in place of armies, etc.
there are various parallels and ironies in the film that at this point would be apropos to highlight:
the circus and the war were one and the same. just before being executed one person says 'long live spain' and the other says 'long live the circus'. therefore we see the lines of delineation between the circus and the war were blurred. in the movie there was no distinction between the two. in fact they overlapped each other.
as with the circus and the war similarly the lines of delineation between the happy clown and the sad clown were blurred. they were more alike than they thought. both of them said that if they weren't clowns they would be murderers. javier the sad clown eventually became as violent as sergio. at the very end of the movie while javier and sergio were together arrested in the back of a car after witnessing the tragic death of their love natalia the emotions that they expressed to each other were borderline hate, sorrow, pain, laughter and love. there was no distinction between the interpretation of their emotions, it was all blurred into one full stream of emotion. the intensity of joy can resemble pain and the intensity of sadness can resemble laughter. for example in the dark knight as batman is beating up the joker in obvious pain he makes laughing noises. moaning in sorrow has similar characteristics to laughing in amusement. its no wonder that the happy clown smile if turned upside down becomes the sad clown frown. they are one of a kind, a two sided coin. ones quest for happiness ultimately causes another persons sadness. ones predicament of sadness irreversibly causes the happiness of another. this can be seen in the distribution of labor and wealth around the world. this can be seen in the interaction between bullies. this can be seen in the animal kingdom between the the predator and the prey. this can be seen with the fate of the rich and the poor. this can be seen with every colonizing nation that has destroyed the people before them from the africans to the native americans to the french to the spanish to the europeans. happiness parallels with sadness. they are in contrast to each other and preserve each other.
javier's futile heroic attempt to rescue his dad from prison ultimately boomeranged in a ridiculous botched mistake that landed his father up as horse meat. similarly javiers futile and rather twisted heroic attempt to win the love of natalia from sergio ultimately boomeranged into a long glamorous red carpet jump of death. in javiers pursuit to save his father and his love natalia he ended up killing them. when democracy turns fascist under the guise of liberty, as javier the sad clown did, it becomes more harmful than any other regime. the quest for ones freedom and happiness over another's is dangerous. this of which the democratic spirit is guilty of.
the sad clown and the happy clown both went through a morbid transformation that rendered them to resemble monsters. the happy clown's monster appearance was inflicted by the sad clown's desperate attempt to win natalia over. the wounds afterwards were barely patched up by a animal vet rendering him forever disfigured. the sad clown's monster appearance was inflicted by himself out of insanity in hope for rescuing the girl. the sad clown represents the democratic ruler ship that is timid, peaceful and safe. the happy clown represents the fascist ruler ship that is domineering and abusive. mans natural instincts is to the gravitate towards a fascists one man rulership rather than the democratic all the people say government. this was illustrated in how when natalia wanted both the happy clown and the sad clown together for herself in peace and harmony as if in hope to live a romantic liberal fairy tale. natalia soon realized she couldn't have her cake and eat it too. she soon saw that the awful dead entrapment behind both clowns doors.
romantic sensual love was parallel to the love of war and likewise the love of the circus. the circus owner said that his love for the circus would be the end of him and likewise natalia said that her love for the happy clown sergio would be the end of her.
the sad clown and the happy clown were two opposing enemies both seeking the same love of which they ultimately lost in the end. thats the joke and humor of it all.
there was no distinction between burial sites based on ones political affiliation. in the end both opposing enemies were united in death in the valley of the fallen. therefore in that sense the war wasn't worth fighting for. that's the joke and humor of it all.
hate and love, violence and passion were intermarrying couples. hate is the other side to the coin of love. the hate that was in the happy clown sergio stemmed from his intense love for natalia out of the fear of losing her to javier. similarly the love for natalia that grew in the sad clown javier became full blown hatred out of the fear of losing natalia to sergio. although after seeing javier's sacrificial love and sergio's intense jealousy for her being smothered and suffocated as she was sought to free herself from the triangle of insanity and calm the hatred tug of war she was in then performed the greatest circus trick and joke of all. by jumping to her death as a trapeze act wrapped in red ribbon she hoped to unite them both in a pain and humor that they both could agree upon, sympathize in, laugh about and cry for. hopefully by the loss of her it would show them the futility of their opposition and aggression and the uselessness of fighting a war for her.
the main driving force of this story is the power of love as so many others are. for the most part we see franco's love for war, javier's love to seek revenge for his father's death and javier's love for natalia to protect her from sergio the happy clown. all of the pursuits of love here ended in the death of someone else or the detriment of themselves. this is how powerful love is! the fact that you can love a thing so much that you destroy it is the joke and the humor of the story.
'love is as strong as death, its jealousy as unyielding as the grave'
!LONG LIVE THE CIRCUS!