The Last American Freakshow
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About the Film
Award-winning director Richard Butchins has achieved a stunning landmark in documentary filmmaking. The Last American Freak Show explores the shocking world of people choosing to exploit their disabilities in order to be seen as performers in control of their own lives, rather than be perceived as victims, these amazing residents-of-the-road sing, dance, spit fire and party heavilytaking fierce joy out of life. At first Richard, a disabled filmmaker, has a dim view of this. A massive 3000-mile odyssey from Portland, Oregon to Austin, Texas in an old school bus run on stolen cooking oil helps change his mind but maybe not for the better. You will never regret watching this fascinating journey. Shouldn't we all run away and join the circus? Could you survive it?
fascinating ....and compelling film
This film tells you about a group of indigent disabled Americans travelling in a self styled freak show. Its shot in a rough and ready manner by an English disabled filmmaker who travels along with them across the western states of the USA.
It's a sort of 'magic bus' type journey except with no magic. The troupe are drunken and disorganised. the leader a non-disabled woman spouts all this PC crap whilst blatantly exploiting the members of the group. The films style matches the content and is skilfully edited to give a sense of disorientation. There are some nice touches with the music and the end credits are over a very bizarre screaming opera singer.
I know the film caused some controversy in the UK because of its unsentimental and ruthless portrayal of the reality of disability. It's not always an easy watch but who said all film has to be entertaining although it does have it's funny moments and it's worth the journey to the end.