Synopsis

Animal tamers from various continents shine in the spotlight and struggle for their existence behind the scenes. Namayca, Carmen, Nadezhda, Aliya, and Anosa are five women from four different countries, but all are charismatic animal tamers. They work in the circus and train tigers, lions, and bears. Between toiling and smiling, the female circus artists disclose their passion for their “wild” animals and extraordinary profession. Switching between dominatrix and cuddly kitten in the arena, they play with the contrast between docile woman and wild beast. In doing so, they always overcome their own limitations and risk death in a dangerous show full of total dedication, absolute presence, and physical perfection. Their ultra-close relationship with their animals is sensual – and immensely gruelling.

Director Anka Schmid (Against all Odds) illuminates the harsh reality behind the sparkling images and offers a respectful view into the exotic life of these artistic performers. The women speak candidly about their wishes and desires – about their lives between freedom and extreme dependence, between admiration and exclusion. Always in conflict between feminine gentleness and commanding toughness, they struggle for their existence both as women and as tamers – a profession that may soon be outlawed. A film of indomitable power that puts to the test images of both beauty and beast.

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