Having seen the original Cirque du Soleil in Battery Park in Manhattan several years ago, I was not eager to see this film. How wrong I was. Cirque du Soleil: World's Away is a dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment. The acts are spectacular and original though some were seen at Las Vegas. Steve Wynn has been instrumental in the financial well-being of this troupe. In 1993, Wynn's Treasure Island Hotel and Casino on Las Vegas Strip purchased the act Mystère, in which the origins of life in our universe are explored. Wynn went on to produce other Cirque du Soleil acts.
Originally, the troupe had severe financial hardship which propelled its success. In 1979, Montreal street performer Guy Laliberte, a college dropout who had mastered fire eating while living on unemployment, toured Quebec. Laliberte met up with Daniel Gautier and Gilles Ste-Croix who ran a youth hostel for performing artists called Le Balcon Vert. In 1980, as a publicity stunt Ste-Croix walked 56 miles on stilts from Bain St. Paul to Quebec to raise money for his idea. In 1980, these three were awarded a government grant and thus formed the origins of Cirque du Soleil.
The music of this James Cameron-produced film is soothing and nostalgic with a great deal of the finest Beatles' melodies. This splendid 3D example combines circus acts with the story of an innocent ingénue, Mia, walking into the big top. She sees a man and their eyes meet. He has a spectacular body and is part of the circus troupe. Their eyes lock with longing. Then someone calls him away. A poster with his photo falls on the ground and it says "Acrobat." Mia picks it up and carries it with her throughout the film which is about her journey through a dreamlike underworld to find this handsome man. No one speaks. In the opening perhaps three people exchange words.
Then Mia sets out into a fantasy world of circus performers and acts and sets and fantasy that grows and grows as she seeks to connect with the acrobat with whom she has fallen in love.
Some of the acts that Mia sees in the underworld are O (from eau French for water), Viva Elvis, Ka, Mystere, Love. O is particularly enjoyable as a woman contortionist swims in and out of a giant glass of water and does various contortions on the rim of the glass. She is beautiful and does things with her body that would make Houdini marvel.
Andrew Adamson wrote and directed this extravaganza starring Erica Linz as Mia and Igor Zaripov as the Aerialist. I was soothed and cleansed after seeing this film devoid of violence and a joy for the family this holiday season.