For Kluge, this evidence of a haunted, inerasable palimpsest of tragic, forgotten history is an unspoken reality that continues to shape Germany's unreconciled, postwar collective consciousness - a nation eager to put its turbulent and ignominious past behind and re-emerge internationally as an enlightened and formidable economic world power (enabled by an economic miracle that would lead to the implementation of a liberal guest worker program during the 1960-70s).
This film combines both black-and-white and color photography to tell the story of a circus beset with financial woes. Leni (Hannelore Hoger), the director of a circus, has just lost her father in a trapeze accident. She tries to keep the circus out of debt and vows to continue the performances under the big top. Helped by a small and unexpected inheritance, Leni has high hopes of keeping the circus operating. She must decide if her dedication to the show is realistic or merely wishful thinking. Curt Jurgens appears as the animal trainer Mackensen in this symbolic but slow-moving feature. The film took the Gold Lion award at the 1968 Venice Film Festival.