A clown and an abusive sociopath vie for the attentions of a beautiful woman in this metaphorical drama from filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia. In 1938, civil war is raging in Spain, and the performers with a traveling circus are confronted by a band of Partisans who want them to fight against Franco -- or else. While the circus artists fight bravely, they're no match for the fascist leader's army, and many meet a bloody fate while others, like the Stupid Clown (Santiago Segura), end up in prison. The clown asks his young son, Javier, to avenge him someday, and in 1973, Javier (Carlos Areces) becomes a clown himself, working with a traveling carnival alongside Sergio (Antonio de la Torre), a man with an ugly and violent nature. Sergio has a girlfriend, a lovely trapeze artist named Natalia (Carolina Bang), who lives under his constant threats and abuse, and Javier soon falls for her. While Javier hates Sergio for what he does to Natalia, he has a hard time working up the courage to stand up to the bully, much as his father was hard-pressed to stop Franco's violent minions. Balada Triste de Trompeta (aka The Last Circus) earned Álex de la Iglesia prizes for Best Screenplay and Best Direction at the 2010 Venice Film Festival.