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Big-Top Turmoil

Circuses are designed to be fun and merriment in perhaps its purest form, where contortionists amaze with astounding acrobatics, exotic animals thrill and delight, and curious clowns turn frowns upside down.

For the Ponce family of Mexico, however, running their traveling circus is far from a lighthearted affair. Ringmaster and paterfamilias Tino Ponce has struggled for decades to keep his family's business -- which has been traveling Mexico's countryside since the 19th century -- alive and thriving amidst dwindling crowds, mountainous debt, and nonstop cajoling from his wife Ivonne to pull his four children from the show.

This high-stakes drama was captured by filmmaker Aaron Schock for his 2010 documentary Circo, showing through July 6 at FilmBar, 815 North Second Street. Acclaimed Tucson alt-folk band Calexico provides the soundtrack for the heart-wrenching and critically acclaimed documentary.

Thu., June 23, 8:30 & 10 p.m.; Fri., June 24, 7 & 9 p.m.; Sat., June 25, 5 & 8:30 p.m.; Sun., June 26, 5 p.m.; Tue., June 28, 7 p.m.; Wed., June 29, 8:30 p.m.; Thu., June 30, 7 p.m.; Sat., July 2, 5 p.m.; Sun., July 3, 7 p.m.; Mon., July 4, 8 p.m.; Wed., July 6, 7 p.m., 2011


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