Circus Without Borders showcases world-class athletes in remote regions

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      A documentary by Susan Gray. Rating unavailable

      As narrow as its subject might appear, Circus Without Borders suggests an alternative way of looking at the future. Peak oil is already past, but there’s one commodity this planet already has too much of: people.

      Primarily set in two of our most impoverished places, this nicely shot 70-minute Canadian doc centres on men who have found ways to build on the richness in themselves and their communities.

      The incredibly charismatic Yamoussa Bangoura is a singer, musician, and storyteller who’s also a world-class athlete. In coastal Guinea, one of the most neglected African nations, he’s created Kalabante, a kind of daredevil circus, full of astounding leaps, rolls, and drum music.

      Bangoura’s eclecticism and thousand-watt personality got him a gig with Cavalia, the Quebec-based equestrian company run by Cirque du Soleil cofounder Normand Latourelle, who eventually followed him back to Guinea to recruit 10 more locals for his shows.

      On the other side of the world, Montrealer Guillaume Saladin, the son of a prominent anthropologist, grew up between the big city and Canada’s Far North. Now the tall, bald-headed fellow lives in Nunavut’s Igloolik. There, he founded Artcirq, which drafts throat singers, musicians, storytellers, and acrobats to keep the history of the Inuit alive and spread their resilient culture around the globe (most prominently at the opening of the 2010 Olympics).

      Members of Kalabante perform acrobatic circus tricks supplemented with drum music.
      Michele McDonald

      Boston-based doc veteran Susan Gray gets us close to these complicated leaders, although the film is less secure in conveying the consequences of their meeting. Some time-frame references are confusing, and it would be good to know some of the supporting artists better. Less may be more, but another 10 minutes probably wouldn’t have hurt. In any case, this Circus certainly gets across the notion that art and human connection are our most renewable resources.