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Jonas and the Backyard Circus

Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 6:45pm
Community Partner(s)

Jonas and the Backyard Circus

Paula Gomes | 
Brazil |
 2015 | 
80 minutes

Honey-coloured sunshine and the playful spirit of the young would-be impresario at its centre fill this beautiful film from director Paula Gomes with particular joyfulness. Thirteen-year old Jonas has a great passion for the circus — it’s an obsession that thrills his grandmother and drives his mother slightly insane. In the backyard of his house, Jonas builds sets, makes costumes, rehearses with his circle of friends, and puts on one heck of a show. Acrobatic acts and musical performances (keep your eyes peeled for a particularly thrilling rendition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller) enthrall the neighbourhood kids. Keeping the circus going, along with schoolwork and family, is proving a bit of a strain for Jonas, as director Paula Gomes discovers when she is hauled on the carpet by the school principal for proving to be a disruptive force in Jonas’s life. Jonas himself also calls into question the purpose behind the film in a series of frank discussions with Gomes. Even as the triangle of strong women in his life debate his future, you get the sense that Jonas will ultimately have the final say in his destiny. There is a glint of hard steel in his eyes that indicates the depth of his ambition as a born showman. Despite the tensions, there is so much warmth and affection in this film that it is hard not to be lulled into the gentle rhythms of life in Brazil. Especially on long sunny afternoons, dappled with leafy light, while Jonas whiles away the hours daydreaming about a future filled with magnificent feats of skills, high wire acts and derring-do. -DW

Paula Gomes

Paula Gomes

Paula Gomes is director graduated from Escuela Septima Ars de Madrid. She studied Documentary at Centro de Formación Profesional de la Indústria Cinematografica Argentina (CFP SICA). Her new film Jonas and the Backyard´s Circus, world premiere at IDFA, was awarded the TFI Latin America Media Arts Fund 2014, granted by the Tribeca Film Institute (USA) and for the Bertha Fund (England) too.