With big-budget circuses like Cirque du Soleil ruling the market, it would seem that small family circuses like the Ponce family’s Gran Circo Mexico don’t have a chance of surviving. But as we see in filmmaker Aaron Schock’s documentary Circo, the tiny, ten-person operation is keeping the family-circus flag flying — even if just barely. The film follows the family across the rural roads of Mexico, struggling to raise the big top amid dwindling audiences and familial strife. Ringleader Tino’s wife Ivonne tries to manage affairs while her in-laws hold on to the purse strings and her children carry a working burden no child should shoulder.

See a century-old family tradition, an erosion of culture and financial reality clash in this award-winning documentary with a musical score by the acclaimed band Calexico. 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 6 p.m. Sunday. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit $6 to $7.
Aug. 26-27, 7 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 28, 5 p.m., 2011


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