This is a film that's breathtaking in its brilliance. It's almost unknown to English audiences. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD in America, but it's never been released in England. Fortunately the Spanish Blu-ray includes English subtitles. Click here to order it.
The first time I watched it I said that it's difficult to review. That hasn't changed. If anything it's even more difficult now. There are so many things going on the film. So much is packed into 105 minutes, but it's never too much.
It's a love story, more exactly a love triangle, between two clowns and a circus acrobat.
It's a story of a man wanting to avenge his father's death.
It's a political story of life in Spain under General Franco.
It's a tale of madness.
Javier, the sad clown at the centre of the story, does bad things, but he's never a bad man. The insane world around him drives him into madness. The same would have happened to me. What about you? If you had to live naked in a forest, surviving by eating the raw flesh of dead animals, would you be able to retain your sanity?
The original Spanish title of the film is "Balada Triste de Trompeta", which means "Sad Ballad for a Trumpet". That's the title of a hit single for the Spanish singer Raphael in 1970, which is also partially included in the film. It's a very exaggerated emotional song, and it seems to have been the inspiration for the film. Click here to listen to it.
This is one of the best films I've ever seen, probably in my top ten. Maybe I can write more about it next time I watch it, but I'm not making any promises.
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