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The Show of Shows

Canadian Premiere
Official Selection: Sheffield Documentary Film Festival 2015, Göteborg International Film Festival 2016, Tempo Documentary Festival 2016

"Dazzling" ★★★★
 - Trevor Johnston, TIME OUT LONDON

“Astonishing scenes of strippers, acrobats, clowns, high-wire walkers, human cannonballs, boxing kangaroos and monkeys on bikes” – Geoffrey Macnab, THE INDEPENDENT

With an original score by Georg Holm and Orri Páll Dýrason of Sigur Rós, with Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Kjartan Holmwith


The Show of Shows - Official Trailer from Sagafilm Productions on Vimeo.


Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, it’s perfectly okay to stare. Prepare to embark on a spectacular non-narrative journey through a century of lost circus and vaudeville arts. Meet the often-itinerant performers of fairground attractions and the more polished stars of yesterday’s big-top shows, the daredevils, the beauty contestants, the “freaks”, join us in walking among the audiences of a bygone world. The acrobatics are death-defying. The sheer physicality of performance is mindblowing. The sights on display are consistently unlike anything you will encounter in today’s age, in or out of a circus tent, carefully assembled, presented without commentary and set to a bedazzling score by members of Sigur Rós and an Icelandic choir.

From cabarets and freak shows to insane high-wire acts, boxing kangaroos and everything in between, director Benedikt Erlingsson (OF HORSES AND MEN) has crafted an exhaustively researched visual archive of a yesterday universe where individualistic performers travelled the world to hustle and charm all comers. There is, of course a darker shadow as well. From outrageous animal stunts that regularly defy logic and compassion to children being put in very real danger, it’s easy to understand why a number of the acts depicted here would never be permissible today. A dreamy, beautiful, eerie poem of a film, packed with astonishing footage that often dates back over a century, THE SHOW OF SHOWS is coming to town to amaze you with its cavalcade of curiosities.

— Mitch Davis

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