Coming to theatres this Friday, April 1: CIRCO
Aaron Schock’s feature documentary debut, a portrait of four generations of a Mexican circus family, had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival last year, as well as screenings at True/False, London, Silverdocs, Morelia, and the Hamptons, where it picked up the award for Best Documentary. First Run Features is now bringing the film to NYC’s IFC Center, with the LA release next Friday, April 8.
At the heart of CIRCO is Tino, the ringmaster of Circo Mexico, a small circus run by his parents that travels to rural towns and villages for a day or two at a time. Though Ivonne, Tino’s wife, ran away from home to marry into the circus family, she is close to the end of her rope, watching their children exhaustively work and train for the circus at the expense of their education and their childhood. Tino doesn’t want to disappoint his parents, especially his father, who is carrying on the circus tradition of his own parents – a career that all of his siblings are also involved in with separate small circuses. As Circo Mexico increasingly suffers financially from Mexico’s economic difficulties and from the debt it has had to absorb to keep operating, the conflict between Tino and Ivonne threatens to come to a head and tear their family, and the circus apart. Reminiscent in certain respects to Doug Pray’s SURFWISE, which also detailed the legacy of an unorthodox family upbringing, Schock’s documentary similarly crafts a captivating, specific yet universal portrait of family dynamics, where the tension between individualism and familial responsibility and tradition is palpable and poignant.