"El clown" does not hide its influences and connections. It evens flaunts them: the advertising world that employs most filmmakers and allows them to make ends meet, the struggle for quality control in both artistic endeavors and commercial compromises, the long tradition and aesthetics of Puerto Rican street theater, the music of Nino Rota, or the horrendous red-haired corporative character associated with MacDonalds junk food. It is one work of love that is even gentle to such ugly icons of commercialism, and it shows. It expresses love for the art of the circus performer in its multiple variations, although emphasis is obviously put on the role of a clown. Far from the pathos found in Chaplin's "Limelight", far from a more realistic approach as in Fellini's "I clowns", and far from delirious fantasies as "The Circus" or "Delicatessen", the hard aspects in the life of a circus performer, as presented in this story, are closer to any person's daily transactions with the economy of markets. Xavier Del Monte (played with great charm by Israel Lugo) quits his job in the circus to solve his own economy, he willingly enters the world of publicity, he moderately enjoys a few comforts his contract can buy, while doing his new work with passion. Fortunately for Xavier and us we don't have to watch him in the third, fourth or fifth year of his contract representing a brand of sausages, for his clash with a set of material conventions that are too far from his gentle soul soon introduces curves, turning points, and confrontations that move the story within a clever frame that allows the viewer to try a few different options to wrap up the story that has been told. Many of the high points found in this motion picture are due to the cast. Apart from Lugo's excellent performance, there is solid support from the actors playing the circus crew, led by Ernesto Concepción Jr. and the late Marcos Mazo "Tomate", a circus professional to whom the film is dedicated. Highly recommended.
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