“I can be wild too”
Circus Person is an exposition of what it means to go through a break-up, but with a narrative that is much deeper underneath the surface.
The seventeen-minute piece features Ava (Britt Lover), who becomes fascinated by the woman who her partner cheated on her with. Luna (Jess Marks) appears to be talented and bewitching and Ava can’t help but obsess about her. As a result, she decides to join a circus and discovers far more about herself than she previously dared consider.
This is a fascinating, clever and individual perspective on the effects of a break-up. Writer and director Britt Lover frames the short story like a spoken letter to Luna, which ultimately becomes a personal monologue of self-recognition for Ava, acting a journey to liberation.
Intimacy is an ironic centre-piece to the tone of the film, despite Ava being newly single. Camera shots invite the audience to gaze at her, watching her character feel completely exposed and experience a new vulnerability. The film effectively physicalises emotion, creating a very visual storyline. Scenes where she is lying in water, staring ahead, feel intrusive to watch as she is experiencing a private life-defining moment.
Consistent circular imagery couples the monologue well, inviting metaphors to dominate the screen. It feels as though Ava is reclaiming a narrative for herself and this imagery defines that growing sense of liberation that she is experiencing. This also rings true with the consistent use of body paint during the film, as the bright colours of the paint, combined with the stop-motion effects adds an element of surreal.
There are jarring laugh-out-loud moments that brutally contrast with moments of deep feeling, all contributing to the very human experience that Ava is going through. She joins the circus to perhaps feel something and to continue the film’s motif of wanting to be bold. The viewer can’t help but feel as though she is trying to prove to Luna, in her own private way, that she’s just as good as her and doesn’t need to compare herself to her. This is an interesting commentary on women experiencing heartbreak with copious depth and intelligence behind the camera as well as in front of it.
Whilst she is haunted by Luna for taking something meaningful away from her, Ava also credits her for allowing her to recognise her desire to feel free. The proximity between the two women always feels close, even though they have supposedly never met, but there is a shared intimacy there that the script taps into that is incredibly thought-provoking.
Heartbreak has allowed Ava to open her heart to herself and Circus Person is her journey to understanding and accepting that life continues after heartbreak. This self-reflection deeply resonates with audiences who can relate to the knowledge that it is important to self-love.
Circus Person is now streaming on YouTube as part of the We Are One online film festival.