1937, the Spanish Republic is starting to loose the battle against Franco’s troops. The Republican army forces the artists of a touring circus to help them fend off an attack. In the ensuing fight, one of the clowns distinguishes himself by cutting down dozens of fascists with a machete. After the war, he ends up in a forced labor camp. He tells his son Javier that he will only know love by taking revenge. When Javier follows his advice and bombards the camp, his father dies and the camp commander gets mutilated, which gives Javier an enemy for life. 1973, Javier is a sad, obese clown, working in a circus run by the sadistic Sergio. When both fall in love with the beautiful trapeze artist Natalia, a rapidly escalating orgy of violence ensues, in which Javier will come face to face with his past. Alex De La Iglesia ( The Day of the Beast, Commonwealth, The Oxford Murders ) is in terrific shape. He comes to the BIFFF with his magnum opus. A Sad Trumped Ballad is not only a cinematographical tourde- force, with numerous unforgettable scenes; it also contains some very significant symbolism. With Javier the republican, Sergio the fascist and Natalia as lady Spain herself, you have two sides fighting for the soul of a country and hereby causing irreparable damage. The result is as highly entertaining as it is sobering. De La Iglesia wraps his angry fist in layers of black humor, but this will not stop A Sad Trumpet Ballad from knocking you out.

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