On the Cauberg hill in the southern Dutch village of Valkenburg, at the current location of the Thermae 2000 health resort, Erie Klant-Hagenbeck established his zoo and dressage school in 1947. Klant’s Zoo expanded and became the top tourist attraction of post-war Valkenburg. But Klant-Hagenbeck made his real mark with his dressage school. Adventurers from all over Europe and some local youngsters were trained in what is sometimes called the most dangerous profession in the world, wild animal trainer. Once fully educated, these trainers and their beasts of prey were hired out to big international circuses. Klant-Hagenbeck ‘s animal trainers developed into the absolute top and worked at circuses and film studios all around the world. Some of them appeared in films such as Quo Vadis, Samson and Delilah and Fritz Lang’s Das Indische Grabmal.
Eventually, the school closed its doors in 1971. Patrick Bisschops shows how today the gods of bygone days mostly lead retired and marginal lives. Despite their advanced age, they find it hard to say farewell for good to working with predators. The heroism has been replaced by wistfulness and decay. ZIGEUNERS VAN DE CAUBERG was developed during the IDFA scenario workshop in the year 2000.