The Show of Shows

The Show of Shows

Benedikt Erlingsson (2014)

12A Certificate


Our Score
Given that moving pictures started out as a fairground curiosity, it's perhaps not surprising that film-makers have always been fascinated by the lives and talents of carnival and circus folk. Culled from the University of Sheffield's National Fairground Archive, the footage selected for this documentary by Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson also takes in freak shows, cabarets, music halls and seaside attractions to present a nostalgic, but considered tribute to an almost extinct lifestyle that kept the masses entertained for over a century. Scored by the Sigur Ros duo of Georg Holm and Orri Pall Dyrason, the themed chapters celebrate the knockabout mayhem of the clowns, the elegance and audacity of trapeze and tightrope artistes, and the spectacle and cruelty of the various animal acts. Nowadays, the sight of creatures great and small performing demeaning tricks will dismay more than it will delight. But Erlingsson doesn't shy away from the more contentious aspects of big-top life, including a young girl's participation in a knife-throwing stunt.

Cast & Crew

Director Benedikt Erlingsson

Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: DogwoofGuidance: Some nudityReleased on: 4 Dec 2015