5 Cirque Du Soleil Movies You Probably Won’t Understand

Sunday, September 30 by Christopher Nowlin

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Leave it to the French-Canadians to come up with something this strange. A group of performers from Quebec set out to redefine circus performance in the early 1980's. They originally called themselves *. Yes, their name was asterisk; not the word, but the symbol. Their act and their name eventually evolved; they threw in some strange costumes and itty bitty athletes and came up with "Cirque Du Soleil." What they do is impressive and fun to watch, but you probably won't understand what any of it means.

 

"The Journey of Man"

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The performance follows the journey of a man, from birth to death. It opens with a bunch of scantily clad people swimming in a pool, which is supposed to represent birth. Then it just gets weird. Each stage of life is represented with a different strange, but impressive, act. The underwater ballet gives way to an aerial bungee cord dance which morphs into a synchronized human statue act. Everything is possible through the metamorphosis of the "Universal Child."

 

"Worlds Away"

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James Cameron is directing this 3D movie experience and it is set to premier in 2013. And this one actually makes sense, even though the performers probably look like they belong in the movie "Avatar." Unlike most "Cirque du Soleil" performances, this film has narrative and plot with Ian McKellen as a narrator. That's right, Magneto tells you what's going on. It's about a young woman growing up in a boring town that escapes to the circus which is full of the usual cast and characters of Cirque du Soleil.

 

"Varekai"

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A young man falls from the sky into a kaleidoscope world. That's how this movie is described. "Varekai" means "wherever" and the whole movie tries to immerse you into an alternate reality where anything is possible. Anything except for a firm understanding of the plot. The man sets off on an adventure, both absurd and extraordinary, on the edge of time. The film features a man dancing on giant crutches, some impressive basketball-sized juggling, and a couple balancing on canes.

 

"Saltimbanco"

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"The worms are born with nothing at the base of society–they long to attain the level of the baroque." You know that any film that describes itself as such is going to be confusing as all hell, so good luck understanding that through the magic of dance. This show strives to represent the hustle and bustle of the city. It's urban inspiration is represented with a lot of dancers who launch each other off of city benches into the air, vertically dance around each other on poles, and fly past each other on bungee cords.

 

"Alegria"

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This film is one of the troupe's marquee performances. Apparently it is a comedy; slap-stick acrobatics. "Alegria" means "jubilation" in Spanish and the film tries to convince you that it is a state of mind. The film highlights the dynamics of power as it follows Kings, aristocrats, minstrels, beggars, and children. Each of the characters change throughout the story except for the clowns. The clowns stay the same. Apparently the clowns are impervious to the passing time or the learning of life lessons. This film has an impressive contortion act and a daring flaming-knife fight. 

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