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|Index||13 reviews in total|
If there is a single problem with "Alegria," the first feature film from
hugely successful (and rightfully so) Cirque du Soleil enterprise, it's
a concrete narrative structure doesn't seem to fit in the avant-guarde
troop's world. A large part of the charm of the stage productions is the
abstraction--the audience can fill in the blanks with whatever story
them, or simply sit back and enjoy the show. And while on one hand the
story of "Alegria" is a charming one--a boy-meets-girl fable entwined with
the plight of a group of children forced to labor under a cruel
taskmaster--its presense detracts from the surreal nature of the Cirque
That's not to say there isn't plenty to enjoy here, for there is. There are several fine performances here, with standouts coming from Frank Langella as the ringmaster and concerned father of the girl and Heathcote Williams as the despicable villian. Brian Dewhurst, a vetran of multiple Cirque productions and one of their most versatile talents, has a nice bit part as a depressed bartender. Benoit Jutras (another regular on the Cirque payroll) has created a beautiful and dramatically correct score for the film. The film posesses moments of beautiful, sad, and disturbing imagry, and when we do see the Cirque cast in action, it's a joy as always.
"Alegria" may not be an entirely successful foray into new territory, but when so many filmmakers rely on what's "reliable" and "safe," you certainly can't blame them for trying.
Alegria is one of my favorite movies. If you go into this film looking for
a documentary of the Cirque de Soliel's stage show, you will be
dissapointed. If you go in looking for a deep allegory, you will leave
But that is not what this film is. It's a fable.
Just like in any good fable there are layers after layers of meaning. The fact that Frac and the performers never remove their stage costume. The kids selling and growing flowers in the dark. The vivid colors. Just about any frame of this film could be printed and framed as a work of art.
This film is classy and you feel good for watching it.
I never knew a movie about one of the Cirque du Soleil's best circus
acts was given a motion picture adaptation. I felt like a child again,
immortalized by watching this movie, couldn't resist its wonder.
Previous credits give it 10 out of 10, I must agree with them.
As of Gullieta, I thought French actress Vanessa Paradis played her, like it was one of her first roles ever, but it turns out to be a British actress called Julie Cox, don't know her much. All actors in this movie, I don't know, its the first time I'm amazed from viewing an indy film.
Back in 1998, when it must have come out, I went to see Saltimbanco in Ottawa with my teachers and classmates of elementary school. The ending scene reminded of that first time at the Cirque du Soleil !
I saw this movie by accident. After only seeing about half of it, I didn't rest until I found a copy. I don't know much about the Cirque du Soleil, but this film is absolutely beautiful. It's poignant, intense, and above all, just plain good. It's a simple story set against a decidedly different backdrop. It's a good date movie, and one that I would watch over and over again. Perhaps the most incredible thing about the move is Jean Bazinet, who plays the lead. He is absolutely astounding as Frac, the mime. Enough of my words. They don't do this film justice.
What an absolute gem. This is so unlike anything that I have seen
before and I was sure that it was just not going to be my thing. WOW
was I ever wrong. The thrill of the Cirque du Soliel with their
extremely talented acrobats and clowns are joy enough, but then you
have Frank Langella hamming it up wonderfully as Fleur the ringmaster
and Heathcote Williams as the dark Marcello. The best though has to be
Rene Bazinet in the lead role of Frac. What a masterstroke of casting.
This is a mime artist in a speaking role who steals the show. I had
never heard of him until seeing this and cannot understand why he has
never been picked up by other directors. Talk about missing a great
opportunity. Let's hope that this man will pop up and thrill us all
Alegria is a joy and should have been made more prominent at the time of release. This just does not deserve to go un-noticed, it's way too special.
Before buying this movie, I read everything I could to see if it was worth
it. This is not a filming of the stage version of Alegria, this is a movie
that was originally built around it and then took a very different
direction. If you are looking for "standard Cirque," this is not the place
to find it. Cirque du Soleil often goes beyond fans' expectations, and this
is one more case. The movie is well done, though not appropriate for very
young children. It is a simple love story, but with dark undertones. Rene
Bazinet is excellent in the part of
Frac, which was written for him. Julie Cox is decent as Giulietta, though I
found her a bit flat. And Clipper Miano IS Momo. The movie alone would be 3
out of 4 stars, but with the DVD extras I give it 3 3/4 out of 4. (I love
If you are looking for the spectacle normally associated with the Cirque, bypass this movie. If, however, you are open to the Cirque reinventing itself yet again, this time on film, give this movie a try. It's different, and therefore it isn't for everybody. But it worked for me.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was overcome by this simplicity of this film. It began so innocently, and yet by the end it had stolen my heart. All of the cameos by the Cirque du Soleil performers and their phenomenal flexibility were incredible. I particularly enjoyed the soundtrack, which asked the question of why men wanted to kill themselves and young children had to work. These issues are still terribly relevant today, and this film only reiterated their truths.The love story between Frac and the young woman was classic, yet the moment when (spoiler!) Fleur chose to reveal their relationship to the audience of the cirque was disturbing. Throughout the entire film it was unclear where the circus ended and real life began. It was a bizarre meshing and art and life. (Spoiler?)Although the traditional gender role of boy saving girl were put into practice, the end result was still a touching film that managed to steal your heart by the end. I recommend it to anyone who longs for something different. I also loved the behind the scenes look at Alegria afterward, and how it is actually based upon The Garden of Earthly Delights by Boesch. A truly fascinating film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The enthusiastic reviews here led me to purchase this DVD--I couldn't
find it to rent and, after seeing the recent touring production of
Saltimbanco, I was particularly eager to see the mime René Bazinet who,
I gather, created the original mime role in that extravaganza.
Unfortunately, the most interesting bits for a Cirque fan are the
extras, which include two beautiful sequences of performers in
strangely appropriate European settings and a few compelling seconds of
Mr. Bazinet actually performing as a mime rather than as an actor (he
gets to do this briefly at the end of the movie, also, when his
character is finally integrated into the circus, having kissed his true
love). I expected something like the film Children of Paradise, which
presents the extraordinary relationships between a clown and his
public, true love and the realities of daily life. Although these are
the themes of Alegría, the relationships are so poorly drawn that the
result seems a muddle.
This is a confused, sentimental, and somewhat monotonous film (narrated in voice-over). The "real world" presented in it was as fantastic and beautiful as the circus world--just less disciplined and well-lit. The hero, Frac, is supposed to be a Little Tramp everyman character, but his mime makeup and costume are there from the start and he sings like a bird. His plumage is rather dull in the "real" world of Felliniesque whores and retired opera singers and exotically dressed child flower-sellers he inhabits. We never learn anything about the past which is represented by the photographs of himself he tears up, nor about his relationship with the child Momo. When the circus arrives the main difference between it and the dark, supposedly terrible and desperate street world is that it has better lighting (there is even a little speech about "stepping into the light" of the stage, awkwardly inserted to support a dramatic moment) and the women are a lot skinnier (the better to tie themselves in knots). When the children finally escape the dark world to come to the circus, they discard their bright clothes and choose to dress in uniform white--this is visually impressive but symbolically disturbing, I think, as if the circus requires both performers and audience to discard individuality, to bring nothing of the past to the experience. Perhaps this is the intended message, but if so it is no more liberating than the sermons of wicked Marcello, the child-enslaver. The symbolism of flowers (Marcello runs a flower factory, which since it has no light or dirt presumably grows flowers from the children's energy; but when Frac wants to give his true love a symbol of his feelings, he chooses flowers, and she treasures them) is messy rather than complex, too.
Good stuff: I enjoyed Frank Langella as the head clown who rules the circus. The little boy acting Momo provides genuine emotion (which the adult Momo's narrating voice drains away, though) The clown wedding sequence is surreal (no voice-over needed, or comprehensible words except for "Mama! Daddy!") and helps tie together the themes of love, the sad darkness of "real life," and performance. And Mr. Bazinet is fascinating when he is allowed to let himself go.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The first time i saw this movie was when i was just a kid. I couldn't
exactly point out what the movie was about, but i kind of got the
picture of the exploited children and it left me in terror, filled with
strong impressions. I couldn't explain my exact opinion about it, but i
know i felt some dark, sad magic that never left my soul. I even think
that this is one of the movies/songs/stories that shaped my view of
reality, my personality and emotional body. And today i'm very pleased
because it happened like that.
The next time i saw it was a few months ago, and the magic feeling happened again. It looked like a world i've dreamed of while being a child, it touched me right at the deepest point, again. I think its very complex and simple at the same time; originally, it tells about love, but at the same time it examines many more themes that a very few people have tried (or succeeded) to portray on film...the life in the circus, that unusual life about which we hear so little, the beautiful things those people do, their own way of creating art, their feelings behind the curtains and the eternal laughter, after the crowd clears up and animals leave in silence....so intense and powerful, and beyond all, inspirational!! The love of the two unusual characters is sweet, fragile, and you will want it to happen so badly, as if it was your own heart that's aching...you want those people to be happy, to sing "Alegria" with their hearts full of joy, even though they don't have that much in the material way of seeing things. Also, the music is extraordinary. I immediately downloaded the soundtrack. And i'll say only one word to complete this review that brought back so many memories and feelings.
As a caveat, this movie is not for everyone. It is a fable, a mix of
fantasy and reality that adds more than both combined. However, because
of this experimentation, those expecting either a Hollywood style plot
or a capture of the live show will be sorely disappointed. It is a
movie of metaphors. Beautiful, haunting metaphors that light up your
This movie would have done far better in Europe. It takes incredible risks, and succeeds admirably. It is magnificently creative, brings hidden messages out without being at all pedantic, and brings a sense of pure play. The film is put together with technical brilliance. I'd recommend it to anyone with artistic or expressive tendencies. It's also great for children. However, those not in these categories will likely not appreciate the movie at all.
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