A magical surreal satirical film inspired by true stories, some of them fictional.
Loosely based on the memoirs of Michael Sinelnikoff, the director of the first Cirque du Soleil show in a small town in northern Quebec in 1984, that put the famed institution on the map. Stories and characters that were largely forgotten, but deserve their appreciation, artistry, and memory.
The Dawn of Le Cirque du Soleil (1984)
as told by Michael Sinelnikoff
This is a story that ends at the beginning—the beginning of an entertainment phenomenon that has inspired, scintillated, fascinated and thrilled millions around the world, and continues to do so every day. It ends with the first performance of The Cirque du Soleil.
The Cirque du Soleil has redefined the North American concept of Circus. Through the marriage of superb marketing, circus style, human performance, and theatrical presentation it has launched a new circus art form borrowing from the traditional, but unique unto itself. Yet what we thrill at today in the permanent show in Las Vegas and at the numerous road shows traveling the world had humble and shaky beginnings as do most endeavors that struggle to break new ground and chart new courses.
As happens with many innovative creations, those who were there at the beginning, who breathed life into this young idea, taught it how to walk and guided its first steps, have more or less been forgotten or overlooked in the successes that followed.
Michael Sinelnikoff has been—and is—a dear friend of mine. As a young aspiring Director, I used to watch Michael’s programs on the CBC and wished I were in his shoes. I admired what he did. I envied his skills. I hoped one day to be as good as he was.
He was—and remains—a kind and generous mentor, a man of refinement and good taste, and a truly gentle man.
We reconnected recently and he told me something fascination: that he had directed the first ever production of The Cirque du Soleil and asked me if I thought it would make a good story.
Did I think it would make a good story? I thought it would make a great story!
And as it unfolded, what a story it turned out to be!