We've Got Hollywood Covered

The Cinematic Magic of Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Iris’

The new show at the Kodak is a true nirvana ride of eye-popping magical wonder and movie world appreciation


Movies have always been a magical world for me since I was a kid growing up in Egypt, watching Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedies and "The Ten Commandments" — which blew my mind.

The magic continued when on my first day as a Fellow at the American Film Institute, Moses himself was the speaker welcoming my class to Hollywood (before Charlton Heston became a gun nut … God bless him!)

The magic grew by leaps and bounds as I found my way into directing TV shows and feature films. It was in the air every time I worked on a set, every time I was in an editing room, every time I worked with a composer on a score.

Indeed, like every filmmakers, I was making magic every time I yelled “Action” until I called “Cut!”

Most recently, magic was again most fragrant in the air as I witnessed an amazing celebration of the love of cinema. Run don’t walk to see "Iris" – the Cirque du Soleil’s newest presentation celebrating the world of cinema, and it first resident show in Los Angeles contracted for the next 10 years at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

And yes, I’m a huge fan of the Cirque, I’ve seen most of its productions through the years, and it always managed to cast its magic on me and make me grin with joy like a 10 year old. But because "Iris" is a journey through the world of cinema, the front row seats which my wife Jacqui surprised me with for my birthday (10 again!) was a true nirvana ride of eye-popping magical wonder and movie world appreciation.

Ingenuous wonders started with a dancer wearing for a skirt a type of Praxinoscope: a large rotating drum of light flashes providing a dazzling stroboscopic strip of sequential images (such as photographs, drawings, or illustrations) on the interior surface with regularly spaced narrow slits through which a spectator observes images as the drum rotates, creating an illusion of perceived moving pictures.

One of the greatest costume designs in theater history!

And finally, they were ingenuous to bring in a top movie magician – a film composer to do the music score. And they get one of the very best maestros: the great Danny Elfman ("Batman," "Mission: Impossible," "Alice in Wonderland") who created the most cinematic music score in Cirque musical lore.

Bravo, Danny! You should read my memoir "Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot" that celebrates great composers and the divine marriage of music and film.

This show is huge: $100 million spent for renovations to the amazing Kodak Theater (also home of the Oscars), 175 additional loudspeakers installed, 360 props, 200 costumes, 72 artists from 15 nations, and a 125-man crew just to pull it all off.

This love affair with the cinema was written and directed by Philippe Decouflé and this guy has got to have one of the greatest jobs in the universe! How do I sign up for the next one? Hey, I speak French, too!

The show is presently in previews, the official opening date is Sept. 25. Make sure you experience the magic as soon as you can … because you’ll want to see it again and again and again! Bravo Cirque!

And every time you exit the show, you’ll be dying to make a movie … any damn movie! “Roll cameras!” 


Aaron Barlow writes about film, new media (especially blogging) and whatever else happens to pique his interest. Past owner/operator of a cafe, a store, and a gallery (among other activities), he began teaching at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) four years ago. His newest book is “Quentin Tarantino: Life at the Extremes.” Visit him online at www.aaronbarlow.com.