Circus School

   30 April 2007, terribly early in the morning

There are scenes in the film Circus School of children doing standing back flips, again and again and again. All you hear is this constant thud, thud, thud, and all you see are the grimaces on the kids faces as they are doing them. It’s kind of painful to watch. These little scenes struck me as being microcosms of the movie as a whole, which was incredibly intense. Shot almost entirely in a school for acrobats in China, the story follows the trails and tribulations of a small group of children trying to learn their tricks and make it as acrobats. The film really was excellent. My heart was beating so fast during the first half of the movie while you’re watching the trapeze artists practice and then compete. The second half of the film leaves you wondering how broken these children will be once they are done with the school. They are worked so incredibly hard. It is amazing what the kids accomplish mind you, but I’m not sure the costs are worth it. In the QA we learned the film makers didn’t think so, but this doesn’t come across in the film. There is almost no narration, no blatant editorializing. It’s just scene after scene of kids working hard to become acrobats. You need to watch this movie.

After this film, we went to watch Forever. BlogTO did the same thing. Circus School was the 4th screening I attended at HotDocs.

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