August 11, 2011, 7:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The SCA Summer Screening Series and Magnet Releasing invite you and a guest to a special preview screening of:

The Last Circus

Written and Directed by Alex de la Iglesia

7:00 P.M. on Thursday, August 11th, 2011

The Ray Stark Family Theatre
George Lucas Building, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007


     Winner -- Best Director, Best Screenplay, 2010 Venice Film Festival

In Theaters on Friday, August 19th, 2011

About The Last Circus (Balada Triste)

1937, Spain is in the midst of the brutal Spanish Civil War. A "Happy" circus clown is interrupted mid-performance and forcibly recruited by a militia. Still in his costume, he is handed a machete and led into battle against National soldiers, where he single handedly massacres an entire platoon. This absurd and disturbing scenario raises the curtain on a twisted tale of love, revenge, and psychopathic clowns that could only spring from the mind of filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia.

Fast forward to 1973, the tail end of the Franco regime.  Javier, the son of the clown, dreams of following in his father's career footsteps, but has seen too much tragedy in his life - he's simply not funny and is only equipped to play the role of the Sad Clown. He finds work in a circus where he befriends an outlandish cast of characters, but as the Sad Clown he must take the abuse of the brutish Happy Clown Sergio, who humiliates Javier daily in the name of entertainment.

It is here that he meets Natalia, a gorgeous acrobat, and abused wife of Sergio. Javier falls deeply in love with Natalia and tries to rescue her from her cruel and violent husband, unleashing Sergio's jealousy. But Natalia is torn between her affection towards Javier and her lust for Sergio.

With neither man willing to back down, this twisted love triangle evolves into a ferocious battle between Sad Clown and Happy Clown, escalating to unbelievable heights in this absurd, shocking, irreverent and unforgettable film.

35mm print provided courtesy of Magnet Releasing. Rated R. Running time: 105 minutes.

To learn more about the film and to view the trailer, click here.


Director's Statement

I’m making this film to exorcise a pain in my soul that just won’t go away, like oil stains. I wash my clothes with movies. I feel ridiculed, horribly mutilated by a marvelous and sad past, as if I were drowning in nostalgia for something that never happened, a huge nightmare that won’t allow me to be happy.

I’m a filmmaker, not a terrorist. I want to annihilate the rage and the pain with a grotesque joke that will make others laugh and cry at the same time. I want to burn out the wounds that burn my nights with acid, when the anguish becomes unbearable and the devils that live by my side whisper softly into my ears and become painfully real.

I am two people, maybe more. I can make out a spoilt child, cowardly and cruel, who enjoys hurting and pinching the cheeks of those weaker than him. I know he hates me and wants to destroy me, but the only way for him to stop torturing me is to let him out. He needs to enjoy himself, laugh uproariously, vomit all over the celluloid.

There’s also a bitter elderly woman, aware of her age and of her ignorance, but mostly of her guilt. She would like to love passionately, but knows that’s not possible. She wants to be liked, she wishes with all her might to make others happy even if she doesn’t know how to enjoy life.

Perhaps these two strange creatures define this film. Their struggle is a summary of my life, of what I’ve seen around me, a confusing and absurd display, both grotesque and disappointing, but also incredibly touching within its own stupidity. The only dignity, the only possible salvation for these cowards lost in their own hell is a good joke, a comedy, a pantomime capable of dissolving the bile that sticks to the sticky surface of reality.

I want the film to take place in 1973, when I was eight years old. I remember that time as a dream, a nightmare that made no sense.

The decline of Franco’s regime is like the prehistory of my life. It hides are wild animals, hunger and sorrow, murderers and my brothers and my mother, but, above all, my father.

Perhaps that was the year in which reality was most like a dream. “El Lute”, the death of Carrero Blanco, the TV clowns… They all come together in my memory. I’m not sure who the clown was and who the child was in that strange hallucination.

Terrorism, childhood, television. All concepts that intermingle and overlay each other in my head, creating an enigma, a hieroglyphic, that I need to decipher.

-- Alex de la Iglesia, 2009

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the general public. Please bring a photo ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $8.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago
Phone: 213.740.2330