The Show of Shows: 100 years of Vaudeville, Circuses and Carnivals

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    The Show of Shows: 100 years of Vaudeville, Circuses and Carnivals

    Directed by

    Iceland, United Kingdom


    72 min

    • No dialogue


    Sheffield Docs/Fest Sarajevo IFF San Sebastián IFF

    Roll up, roll up for an unforgettable experience! This film tells the story of itinerant circus performers, cabaret acts and vaudeville and fairground attractions. In this film, rarities and never-before seen footage of fairgrounds, circus entertainment, freak shows, variety performances, music hall and seaside entertainment are chronicled from the 19th and 20th century. We will see early shows that wowed the world and home movies of some of the greatest circus families. Director Benedikt Erlingsson takes us back to the days when the most outlandish, skillful and breathtaking acts traveled the world.



    Davíð Alexander Corno
    Georg Holm & Orri Páll Dýrason of Sigur Rós
    Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson
    Kjartan Dagur Holm


    An intricately assembled paean to old-fashioned entertainment... a loving and vital flashback.

    Benjamin Lee, The Guardian

    The Show of Shows draws important attention to the failings of circuses and their ilk when judged with modern sensibilities but equally underlines the beautiful joy of being allowed to marvel.

    Ben Nicholson, Cine-Vue

    Benedikt  Erlingsson

    Benedikt Erlingsson


    In my target group is only one person that I have to amuse. And that person is me.

    Benedikt Erlingsson is an Icelandic director, author and actor. OF HORSES AND MEN, Erlingsson’s first feature film as a writer-director, received the New Directors prize at the 2013 San Sebastián Film Festival and went on to win over 20 international awards. Benedikt Erlingsson is a 2016 Gan Foundation for Cinema award winner. His second feature film, WOMAN AT WAR (2018), was selected at the 57th Semaine de la Critique.

    Selected Filmography