While traveling the Mexican countryside, from small town to even smaller village, the Ponce family keeps up a more than 100-year tradition of bringing their traveling circus to customers.
Director Aaron Schock gives audiences an honest glimpse into their itinerant lives in "Circo," a documentary competition entry making its world premiere tonight at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
"Circo" chronicles a pivotal moment in the family's life -- a family that scarcely knows any other existence besides the constantly moving caravan of clowns, contortionists and aerialists -- and of its Circo Mexico traveling circus.
Tino Ponce is the ringmaster of this shoestring operation, and he oversees not only a menagerie of wild animals tucked into small, colorful cages but also his family, aka his fellow performers.
Tino's wife, Ivonne, who gave up town life for the never-ending road of the circus, serves as his right hand and one who also cares for their four young children, who act as laborers, performers and who represent the outfit's future.
It's when Ivonne begins raising doubts about the children's insular lives (lives that do not involve any sort of formal education) and the seemingly selfish motives of Tino's father, Circo Mexico's true patriarch, that relationships start to fray.
Pair that with rising debts and fewer paying customers, and Tino is suddenly faced with either sticking with what he has known all of his life ... or addressing what his wife wants to change.
While this 75-minute film isn't a strong draw for the littlest of viewers, it does serve as a compelling entry in any lineup that includes films with PG-rated family dynamics.
It's truly heartbreaking when Tino's daughter, who must be about 9 years old, admits that she can only write a handful of words: bear, mom, dad, Moises (her brother) and her own name.
Fri., June 18, 7:45 p.m., Regal Cinemas
Sat., June 19, 4:30 p.m., Regal Cinemas
Mon., June 21, 5 p.m., Regal Cinemas
Director: Aaron Schock
Writers: Aaron Schock, Mark Becker
Producers: Aaron Schock, Sally Jo Fifer, Jannat Gargi
Today I'm giving away a pair of Los Angeles Film Festival vouchers, good for most screenings outside of the closing night film. With that, I'm also giving away 2 passes to the ZonePerfect live.create. lounge.
Just leave a comment telling me which film you'd most like to see.
Good luck, and I'll announce the winner Monday, June 21!