Blu-Ray BD50 / 1080p / 24fps / Region ABC
Release Date: 10 July 2023
Aravindan Govindan’s The Circus Tent explores the ripples created by the arrival of a travelling circus in a remote Indian village.
From their processional entrance through spellbinding performances to their final pack-down, circus life is captured in striking imagery. Cutting between skilled performers and wide-eyed spectators, the film encapsulates the sheer magic of art encountered for the first time.
Shot in semi-documentary style, Aravindan worked closely with real circus people and artistes, travelling with them to the village of Thirunavaya on the banks of India’s Bharathappuzha river – and created one of Indian cinema’s most poetic triumphs.
Aravindan’s joyous, lyrical masterpiece links the transience of the travelling troupe with the inevitable mortality of life. Once thought lost, now beautifully restored, the film will enrapture audiences anew.
Presented from the new 4K restoration by Film Heritage Foundation, our region-free Blu-ray features an exclusive, newly filmed interview with Ramu Aravindan, son of the legendary Govindan, plus an interview with FHF founder and filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur and actor Jalaja, and a booklet with new writing on the film and its restoration by Shivendra.
• The Circus Tent (Thamp, 1978) presented from the new 4K restoration by Film Heritage Foundation.
• Exclusive, newly filmed interview with photographer Ramu Aravindan, son of the legendary Aravindan Govindan.
• The Circus Tent at Cannes 2022: Shivendra Singh Dungarpur and actor Jalaja interviewed by writer and broadcaster Anupama Chopra for Film Companion.
• 24-page booklet with new writing by filmmaker and Film Heritage Foundation founder Shivendra Singh Dungarpur.
• New and improved English subtitle translation.
• Region free Blu-ray (A/B/C).
• World premiere release on Blu-ray.
Director and writer Aravindan Govindan
Cinematographer - Shaji N. Karun
Sound - Devadas
Editor - A. Ramesan
Music - Kavalam Narayana Panicker and M.G. Radhakrishnan
Producer - K. Ravindranathan Nair for General Pictures, Kollam
D. P. Nair
Njeralath Rama Poduval
Artistes of the Great Chitra Circus
Residents of Thirunavaya village
2022 Cannes Film Festival /
Official Selection - Cannes Classics
1978 National Film Awards India
Winner: Best Feature Film in Malayalam
Winner: Best Direction – Aravindan Govindan
Winner: Best Cinematography – Shaji N. Karun
1978 Kerala State Film Awards
Winner: Best Director
Runner-up: Best Film
1978 Kerala Film Critics Association Awards
Winner: Best Film
Winner: Best Director
Winner: Best Cinematography
Winner: Best Editing – A. Ramesan
“I adore Govindan's The Circus Tent (Thamp). Brilliant that it's being released by Second Run”
“Images unfold like a Hindustani raga, a journey through a mystical world where the real and unreal merge seamlessly, where genre and form have no boundaries, a contemplative, meditative reverie in a unique visual language - that is Govindan.” Shivendra Singh Dungarpur
“Govindan blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction, eschewing a script and working with actors alongside circus performers. Bereft of conventional plotting and sidestepping sentimentality, the result is an authentic portrait of hard, unsettled lives.[...] an arresting and timeless drama.”
BFI London Film Festival
“Govindan Aravindan's ensemble portrait sees one striking image follow another as it showcases the practices, performances and daily life of a travelling circus over a single stop in Kerala [...] showing everything in fascinating detail and with consistently creative cinematography and framing.”
Matt Turner, Little White Lies
“Full of mysterious shadows and magical situations through a succession of true-to-life images strung together by Aravindan's unique poetics and his cinematographer Shaji N. Karun's extraordinary visual flair. The film abounds in passages, long and short, that stick in the mind tenaciously.”
The Economic Times, India
“The beautiful, meticulously restored print brings alive the magic created on screen by Aravindan’s observational eye .” National Herald India
“The deeply observational, delicate gaze of the camera, captures the pathos of the circus performers and the awe of the villagers.” Festival de Cannes