The Great Mystical Circus: Carlos Diegues chose to forego a coherent narrative, appealing characters and an interesting story; in exchange, he offers absolutely nothing in return. The film fails to convey either the magic or the tragedy of circus. The episodic nature of the story doesn’t allow any of the characters to evolve, or the story to make any thematic sense. It ends up being a heavy-handed, vapid and shallow experience. The performers are physically attractive (which is welcome, given the amount of gratuitous nudity the film has), but their screen time is for the most part too short, and the performances overly and unconvincingly dramatic, soap-opera-ish; Jesuíta Barbosa is the one performer that is on-screen for a longer period of time, and also annoyingly over-the-top (but that’s, at least, partially justified by his character). Cinematographer Gustavo Hadba tries to shake up things with his use of colors, but the film doesn’t look particularly good in general. There’s good music (by Chico Buarque and Edu Lobo) in play, but that’s part of the problem; they are performed without rhyme or reason, bearing no relevance to the story, and dragging the pace of the film even further. If Cacá Diegues wanted to honor the Jorge de Lima’s poem that inspired this film, he should have considered hiring a performer with a beautiful voice and have her or him read the poem, without directions.