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Cirque du Soleil - Fire Within (TV Series)

25 customer reviews

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(Nov 02, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Fire Within begins eight months prior to opening night when it remains to be seen how the performers, who have come from around world, will survive the enormous physical and emotional demands placed upon them. Throughout the captivating series, cameras document the human experience'the drama and comedy, the victories and setbacks and, above all, the desire to succeed that burns within these extraordinary individuals.

This addictive, Emmy Award-winning series has all the human turmoil of reality television, but the subjects have actual talent--it's a 13-part documentary about the young acrobats of Cirque du Soleil, watching them struggle with the physical rigors and emotional demands of creating a new show (the acclaimed Varekai). Fire Within focuses on eight performers, among them Gareth, a temperamental Brit whose sculpted physique features multiple tattoos; Stella, a young African American trapeze artist who's a bit of a diva; Oleg, a 35-year-old Russian circus professional trying to shift his talents to dance; Olga, a Cirque veteran as a contortionist, being given a starring role in this new show. Skillfully edited, Fire Within follows the performers along the stressful path from auditions to opening. The show gains surprisingly intimate access into their lives, capturing the strength and vulnerability of people whose bodies are their art--and not everyone rises to the challenges they face. The process of making a show like Varekai isn't always pretty or gentle; if an act isn't working--such as when Gareth and his acrobatic partner Ashley have trouble finding their balance for a piece called the Icarian Games--the act will simply be cut, and the performer fired. Fire Within is a remarkable warts-and-all document of frustration and ingenuity. After each episode, you'll eagerly jump to the next one to learn what happens next. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • 13 episodes on three discs
  • Reunion special
  • Q&A with selected artists and director Lewis Cohen
  • Cirque du Soleil Promos

Product Details

  • Actors: Kevin Laprise, Andrew Atherton, Paul Bannerman, Ashley Beaver, Adrian Berinde
  • Directors: Bachir Bensaddek, Lewis Cohen, Ezra Soiferman
  • Writers: Lewis Cohen, Cleo Paskal
  • Producers: Valerie Beaugrand-Champagne, Christian Barcellos, Martin Bolduc, Marie Côté, Vincent Gagné
  • Format: AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 2, 2004
  • Run Time: 286 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002XNSZO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,713 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cirque du Soleil - Fire Within (TV Series)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Ryan on July 7, 2005
As a huge Cirque Du Soleil fan, I was thrilled to see the Bravo documentary series on DVD since I had missed it when it aired. I watched the entire series in a matter of two days--I was hooked immediately as it is such a long and cut-throat, yet fascinating process.
My negative criticism is that I feel like the show could have been developed so much more. We only meet a fraction of the people involved in Varekai; I would love to have spent some time getting to know the clowns (in my opinion, the magician and his assistant are one of the best parts of Varekai and I was hoping to see them in this series), gotten to watch the younger ones and how they were handled through the process. They also neglected to finish some story lines. I don't want to ruin a plot line for you so I'll be vague (though it still might give it away), but no problem finding another singer after all of the frustration in the first half of the series?
Eventhough I feel like so much stuff was left out that could have been amazing to watch, I still think this one-of-a-kind glimpse into the process is phenominal, and I do recommend the purchase for anyone interested in Cirque and their behind-the-scenes struggles and processes.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Michelle S. on January 16, 2005
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This documentary series is definitely something all Cirque fans HAVE to see, especially those who like Varekai. Mobster describes the miniseries well. With a look behind how Varekai was made, from the auditions before they even had a name for the show, until the magical premiere, It'll be a big Cirque fan pleaser. This was the first time I'd seen it (I didn't catch it on TV), and I loved it. With all the ups, downs, and real life drama (and trust me, this isn't the stereotypical "reality TV show". This really is "real life."), I really got into it. It brought out many emotions from excitement to sadness, laughter to being on the brink of tears. It was just a wonderful show. It really gives you a larger respect for what the performers are doing on stage. It lets you see a "human side to Cirque" as one of the Atherton twins said. And, along with the show, you also get an extra episode--The Reunion. A reunion of all the original performers. I loved every bit of these DVD's. I definitely recommend it if you're a fan of Cirque. :)
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mobster 94 on November 27, 2004
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Fire Within gives an intimate and revealing look at the making of a Cirque du Soleil show. From the chaotic and fragile beginnings (auditions), through creation-and recreation-to triumphant debut and tour, Fire Within chronicles the birth of Varekai. This 13-episode miniseries is full of human drama: the blossoming of stars and the flame-out of would-be stars. Fire Within shows that what ends up as a dazzling display of creative and acrobatic genius has its share of less than sparkling moments-even dark times in which the future of both the show and some of its performers teeter on the brink of disaster.

The DVD also includes extras (no surprise), including a reunion of the main players in Fire Within and a preview of a new DVD, Solstrom.

This series won a 2003 Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction Program. But I rated it only 4 stars because I felt that ultimately, the drama was a bit lacking. Still, a great look back stage. I gained an even greater appreciation for what I see on stage.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Melanie Williams on March 9, 2006
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I loved Fire Within when it was on TV. I am a huge fan of Cirque and loved that we were able to look into what goes into making a show. I am usually more interested in back story after I've seen the show, but this was such a great introduction to Varekai that I knew that show was going to be terrific. While some people complain that there is a lack of character development for a large part of the cast, I feel that these people weren't trying to play characters, they were themselves through and through and to much admiration of the creators they didn't force anything that wasn't going to naturally happen. The reunion and updates of what the cast is doing now is quite surprising and a very good addition to the show.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andy Orrock VINE VOICE on June 26, 2010
On a recent flight, I watched the Cirque-centric film All Together Now, a 'making of' featurette depicting how the Cirque/Beatles collaboration 'Love' came into being. I really loved that film. It called to my mind this earlier behind the scenes-style production, which detailed the incubation of Cirque du Soleil - Varekai. What I found most interesting about 'Fire Within': how it reveals this supposedly most innovative and unique of organizations as no different than any other organization, with the boring meetings, palace intrigue, factional fighting, fear of authority, and often ham-fisted handling of personnel to show for it.

Despite all the problems that crop up (we're seeing the proverbial sausage get made here), there's triumph at the end. Mostly it's due to the often super-human efforts of the performers and to director Dominic Champagne's will to painstakingly keep this often-careening vehicle on the road. Of questionable help: founder and spiritual guide (and awesome entrepreneur), Guy Laliberté, whose imperial reign and 'bungee boss' presence strikes near-catatonic dread into everyone whenever the mere rumor of his next visit enters the storyline. [The palpable fear expressed by everyone about Guy's next visit reminded me of Don Logan's impending arrival in Sexy Beast.]

This being Reality TV, not all the story lines are destined for a happy ending.
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