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July 2011

Laugh, Clown, Laugh

The Last Circus (2010)

Diego López Calvín/Tornasol Films

Staking an immediate claim as the most delirious cinematic fever of whichever year it may eventually see the light of day, "The Last Circus" is unhinged. Directed by Álex de la Iglesia in a style which knows no restraint, it sets off at a mad sprint through a borderline-tasteless allegory of the Spanish Civil War and then just barrels straight ahead. It lassos echoes of the country's subsequent history into an overheated and baroque revenge tragedy, in which a pair of disfigured amoral circus clowns blaze away at each other with automatic weapons until narrative logic is a distant memory. None of which should be taken as a complaint.

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Apocalypse Again

The Divide (2011)

2011 SXSW Conferences & Festivals

"The Divide" plays to its strengths and doesn't chicken out of its logical conclusion; so as post-apocalyptic sci-fi downers go, it certainly has the courage of its throat-slitting, bone-snapping convictions. It also runs straight into the inherent nihilism problem. The idea that human beings are feral embittered creeps with morals and values that crumble under stress until "Lord of the Flies" looks like a nursery rhyme is cathartic, resonant and a path that has been worn smooth. It's a closed loop of narrative from which all surprise has drained.

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