In digital age, circus maintains flesh-and-blood appeal

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Budapest’s international circus festival shows audiences are still captivated by the emotion of a live performance, Charlie Chaplin’s son Eugene, who heads the jury, said.

The 12th Budapest International Circus Festival, with artists from all over the world, has performances from horseback-riders, jugglers, illusionists and aerial acrobats.

And this year, it pays tribute to the 250th anniversary of the founding of the modern circus by Philip Astley, an English equestrian, in London in 1768.

“The circus has a big show value. My father liked it and I think the important thing is you ... must have some kind of emotion, and if this feeling, this emotion comes out, the public gets it,” Chaplin told Reuters.

Chaplin was the biggest star in Hollywood’s silent movie era. Eugene Chaplin is one of his 11 children, and is a renowned recording engineer, and documentary filmmaker.

In the opening act, Kevin Richter, a young Hungarian artist, performs a traditional horseback acrobat act, riding close to 20 horses in the circus ring.

“The audience loves it that it is not a film they are watching, not some kind of edited recording, or a digitalized film ... here acrobats risk their lives and this is a unique experience,” said Florian Richter, his father.

Florian himself won the Golden Clown award at the 32nd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in 2008 with his own horseback act.

Reporting by Krisztina Fenyo and Krisztina Than; Editing by Alison Williams