The Games People Play According to Eloy de la Iglesia

Juego de amor prohibido posterTwo college students, Miguel (John Moulder-Brown) and Julia (Inma de Santis), take advantage of a school holiday to run off together for parts unknown. Their plan is to shack up somewhere where their parents can’t find them but their impromptu road trip takes an unexpected detour. The young lovers soon find themselves prisoners at a sequestered mansion and estate under the control of Don Luis (Javier Escrivá), an aristocrat with a passionate love of fine arts and the music of Richard Wagner. He also happens to be one of their professors at college and the one who picked up the hitchhikers while he was blasting “Ride of the Valkyries” from his car stereo. This is the set-up for Eloy de la Iglesia’s Forbidden Love Game (Spanish title: Juego de amor prohibido, 1975) but if you think you know what’s coming, you’re probably mistaken.   Continue reading


What’s So Funny About a Clown With a Machete?

The Last Circus (2010) by Alex de la Iglesia

The Last Circus (2010) by Alex de la Iglesia

When clowns are the main characters in movies, you can almost bet they aren’t going to be very funny (He Who Gets Slapped, La Strada, The Comic)…especially in a film by Alex de la Inglesia; this is the fantasist who gave us such outlandish spectacles as Accion Mutante (1993), Perdita Durango (1997) and 800 Bullets (2002). Similar in tone to his pitch black farce Muertos de Risa (1999), in which a two-man comedy act self-destructs in a bitter, homicidal rivalry, de la Inglesia takes this basic conflict and pushes it further into bloody madcap surrealism in The Last Circus (Spanish title: Balada Triste de Trompeta, 2010). It opens in the midst of the Spanish Civil War, circa 1937, as a circus clown, wearing a dress, is interrupted in the middle of his comedy routine and forced into service by the militia. Armed with a machete, he single-handedly massacres scores of Nationals before being captured by the opposition. Before he is executed, he is allowed to give some parting advice to his son Javier, who is so traumatized by the experience that it marks him for life. Though Javier vows to continue in his father’s line of work, he is incapable of playing the happy clown and finds his niche as a sad clown instead.    Continue reading