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Director: Álex de la Iglesia Year: 2010 Country: France, Spain Running time: 102 mins Censor Rating: R18 - violence, sex scenes, content that may disturb Genres & Subjects: Horror Screenplay: Álex de la Iglesia Producers: Gerardo Herrero, Mariela Besuievsky In Spanish with English subtitles CinemaScope With: Carlos Areces (Javier), Antonio de la Torre (Sergio), Carolina Bang (Natalia), Sancho Gracia (Colonel Salcedo), Juan Luis Galiardo (ring master), Enrique Villén (Andres), Manuel Tafalle (Ramiro), Manuel Tejada (master of ceremonies), Gracia Olayo (Sonsoles), Santiago Segura (father stupid clown) Festivals: Venice, Toronto 2010 Best Director, Best Screenplay, Venice Film Festival 2010

Spain’s most popular genre director Álex de la Iglesia (Day of the Beast, Ferpect Crime) is in peak form with this epic that is like some Catalan molotov cocktail of Sam Fuller’s The Big Red One and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Santa Sangre. Javier is an awkward teenager when his father, a clown, is sent to a labour camp: before dying, he tells Javier that he will only find love through revenge. Years on and Javier is a schlubby 30-something about to start working as a sad clown under the control of psychopathic Sergio, a happy clown with a flirtatious girlfriend called Natalia. When Javier falls for her, a chain of events begins that hurtles both men towards total annihilation. An outrageous kaleidoscopic opera of beautiful women, hyper-kinetic action, clowns, Grand Guignol gore, Hitchcockian chases and frenetic fascists, it features so many jaw-dropping moments of bravura filmmaking that viewers may suffer from post-traumatic cinematic sensurround. — AT