Run Away With the Circus

AFS hosts big-top screenings at the Marchesa

<i>Santa Sangre</i>
Santa Sangre

The Austin Film Society is a traveling circus – or at least it plays one in the movies.

In an effort to celebrate its "nomadic heritage ... as we settle into our new tent at the Marchesa," AFS is hosting five circus-themed films at that new home throughout the month of July.

The series kicks off Wednesday, July 3, with the 1965 black-and-white film Yoyo, starring Pierre Étaix as "a miserably bored, wealthy man who finds a new life, and love, and more, when he visits the circus." From there, the bright colors of the big tent spring to the screen with Lola Montès, Max Ophüls' 1955 film about the love life of the titular 19th century dancer, and Viva Maria!, which follows Brigitte Bardot's character through her accidental invention of striptease and revolutionary uprisings. And in Circus Girls, viewers get up close and personal with female circus performers as Director Walter Gutman closely tracks their forms and movements in three short films.

But the grand finale is always worth the wait: AFS is borrowing the only known 35mm print of Santa Sangre from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a one-time screening on July 26. The avant-garde film practically defies explanation, but suffice it to say it manages to combine the circus favorites of a knife-thrower, a pack of clowns, a trapeze artist, and a young elephant with a religious cult, sex, vicious and explicit revenge, and prostitutes. Bizarre and potentially disturbing, yes, but not to be missed, as it might be your only chance.

With all of the other screenings and film series going on around town this summer, Austin feels like a veritable three-ring circus, but you know you're in good hands with AFS as the ringmaster.

AFS Presents: Traveling Circus

All screenings are at the Marchesa Theatre (6226 Middle Fiskville). Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 for students. Visit the Austin Film Society website for complete details or to purchase tickets:

Yoyo (1965, D: Pierre Étaix): Wednesday, July 3, 8pm; Sunday, July 7, 2pm

Lola Montès (1955, D: Max Ophüls): Friday, July 12, 8pm; Sunday, July 14, 7pm

Viva Maria! (1965, D: Louis Malle): Friday, July 19, 8pm; Sunday, July 21, 7pm

Circus Girls (1971, D: Walter Gutman): Monday, July 22, 8pm

Santa Sangre (1989, D: Alejandro Jodorowsky): Friday, July 26, 10:15pm

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Austin Film Society, Marchesa Hall & Theatre, Yoyo, Pierre Étaix, Lola Montes, Max Ophuls, Walter Gutman, circus, Circus Girls, Santa Sangre, Louis Malle

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