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Film / Die Artisten in der Zirkuskuppel: ratlos

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Die Artisten in der Zirkuskuppel: ratlos is a 1968 West German film. It has no official English title, and has been given at least the names Artists in the Big Top: Perplexed, Artists under the Big Top: Perplexed (most idiomatic) and The Artist in the Circus Dome: Confused (most literal) in different translations.

It is a mockumentary-style artistic storytelling form film, in which newsreels, documents, and quotations are intercut with the story of a failing circus. In addition, this is intended to be reflective of the director Alexander Kluge's attempts to invent the movement of the German New Wave, which wasn't going very well (it is also an example of the German New Wave).

It won the Leone d'Oro, but apparently the committee were so ashamed of giving it to the film that they didn't award it again for 12 years.

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Tropes under the Big Top, perplexed:

  • Art Imitates Life: Kluge's frustrations at the lack of enthusiasm for abstract new wave films are represented by a failing circus. What a metaphor.
  • Crappy Carnival: The circus is failing and the owner wants to take it in a new direction, but is it too novel, too optimistic, or too soon?
  • Male Gaze: Vanity shots of nude-appearing women in the circus, seemingly part of the sexual revolution that comes with new waves.
  • Video Collage: The story requires the use of randomly intercut other media, like intertitles but out of sequence.


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