We gave it an A-
The Fellini influence isn’t subtle in this moody gem: Circus performers, Anita Ekberg (magnanimously tolerating ruthless camera scrutiny), and dream-state black-and-white cinematography figure prominently. There’s also a good bit of ”Freaks” in the story of a lonely dwarf (Jean-Yves Thual) who works in a law firm, beds an aging opera singer (Ekberg), and, after befriending a grave young trapeze artist, finds a spiritual and social home in a traveling carnival.
But this extraordinary, elegiac work, written and directed by former Catholic seminarian Yvan Le Moine (based on a short story by Michel Tournier), also establishes its own striking identity, thanks in large part to the unsettling performance of Thual. He’s nimble, economical, and short on pathos, and he’s supported by a director who favors frame-filling close-ups of the stars’ sensual faces rather than predictable shots of their vulnerable bodies.