The Israel Film Fund Collection

Circus Palestina

88 Minutes, 1998
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Directed by: Eyal Halfon
Production:Marek Rozenbaum, Chaim Sharir, Uri Sabag, Anat Bikel
Production Company:TransFax Film Productions
Photographer: Valentin Belanogov
Original Music: Shlomo Grunich
Narrator: Era Lapid
Language: Hebrew
| Subtitles not available

Once upon a time – and this literally did happen – an Eastern European travelling circus arrived in the Holy Land where seemingly every mishap and woe conceivable ended up landing at its rickety old big top: debts were mounting, animals were taken ill, clowns had escaped, and the circus owners struggled to find an audience, or even a location where they could pitch their big top. Ibrahim Dayan, a controversial Palestinian entrepreneur proposes they move the steadily-declining business to an altogether different location where no one has even heard of, let alone seen a circus – a small, dilapidated village in the West Bank that is notorious for being the number one go-to place for stolen car parts. However, this ambitious plan doesn’t even make it to the debut show: Schwick the lion – who is the face of the circus and its star attraction, escapes just as he is about to take to the stage. Those who know a thing or two about lions, claim that he took off to act out some sexual urges; the ones who love him realise that he’d escaped to have a taste of freedom. Whatever the reason, as if the area weren’t already rife with problems, it now also has a vicious predator on the loose.

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