World Cinema


  • Description
  • Bios
  • Trailer
  • U.S. Premiere

    Cheeky and full of life, 20-year-old Tairo has grown up in the circus, taming his beloved but aging big cats and building a life with beautiful contortionist Wendy. When a cherished childhood amulet goes missing — a bent iron rod given to him by 1957 Mister Universe Arthur Robin, aka "Black Hercules" — Tairo sets out to find the legendary strongman and recapture a magical moment of his childhood. As we watch Tairo rekindle friendships with fellow circus folk, the film provides a warm and intimate look at Italy's rich, vibrant working class. Like their 2009 festival sensation LA PIVELLINA, directors Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel's newest film is a lively hybrid of documentary and fiction, casting an empathetic eye toward a disappearing way of life. Whether introducing us to a chimp who worked with Fellini or lighting candles to ward off the malocchio, MISTER UNIVERSO weaves its spell with good humor and surprising turns. — Cedar Sherbert

  • Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel's debut feature LA PIVELLINA (2009) won the Europa Cinemas Label at the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes, and was Austria's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® entry in 2011. This year's MISTER UNIVERSO won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Locarno International Film Festival, where it competed for the Golden Leopard.

©2019 American Film Institute. All rights reserved.