Young, disenchanted lion-tamer Tairo is out to recover his missing lucky talisman - a bar of iron bent into a horseshoe shape and given to him as a 5-yr-old child by ‘Mister Universo’, without which his life is bereft. Shot on Super 16mm, this fast-moving neo-realist road movie is an engaging, and unusual, hybrid of documentary and fiction, in which real-life circus folk play themselves. In a story full of colour and rough charm, Tairo’s quest reunites him with old friends and colleagues and fast becomes a whirlwind tour of Italy’s circus culture. Aided by his quiet admirer and contortionist extraordinaire Wendy, the film culminates in a feel-good ending as Tairo finally runs ‘Mister Universo’ to ground.
Mister Universo won the xtraVALUE Film Award for Best Feature Film at the 2016 Viennale and the FIPRESCI Prize at the Locarno International Film Festival 2016, “For its simplicity and generosity. For its affection and warmth. For we felt better when we left the cinema. For the fact that the most beautiful stories have open endings.”
“A twisting, rolling great big ball of fun of a movie” – Scene Creek
“…rich with exciting circus imagery that gives the intimate quest an expressionistic backdrop. Both emotionally accessible and cinematic, Mister Universo endows its bizarre setting with warmth” – Indiewire