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Circo (DVD Review)

15 Sep, 2011 By: Billy Gil

Street 9/20/11
First Run
Box Office $0.08 million
$27.95 DVD
Not rated.

Documentary Circo captures a family at a crossroads. This family also happens to run a circus, through rural Mexico.

The Ponce family runs the Gran Circo Mexico, as they have for generations. Their children are contortionists and tight-rope walkers. Patriarch Tino runs the show with his wife, while his parents collect tickets — and the profits.

This causes a rift with his wife, Ivonne. She ran away from home at 15 after falling in love with Tino to join the circus, but now wants a normal life for the family. Or at least their fair cut of the profits. But Tino doesn’t seem to have it in him to either leave the circus or ask his father to change the distribution of wealth.

It’s a tough spot for Tino. Going against his father would mean challenging decades of tradition, but the dispute with his wife pulls the couple farther and farther apart.

Circo presents an engrossing family drama that stretches across borders to show how similar familial drama can be, no matter the place. On a film level, director Aaron Schock doesn’t seem to miss a detail and makes the viewer feel that he or she is a part of the show, and the family, shooting from the stage during live performances and refusing to hold back in exploring deep-seeded family issues. On a political level, the film also explores issues of poverty in Mexico in a subtle way that draws sympathy for its subjects, presenting them as real, relatable people struggling to make a living, rather than statistics.

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