Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, July 21:
Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel
Toronto, Reykjavik, Rio, Vienna, BAFICI, AFI Fest, Rotterdam, Mar del Plata, CPH:DOX, San Francisco, Jeonju, Sydney, Moscow
A doc/fiction hybrid following a circus lion tamer in search of a lost magical talisman.
Covi and Frimmel return to one of the subjects of their 2009 film, LA PIVELLINA, to focus on Tairo, a handsome lion tamer with a circus in decline. As the film opens, he is tending to his aging big cats, having recently lost one. The nonfiction elements to this slight but charming project offer a portrait of this disappearing milieu, as the camera follows the workaday lives of Tairo and some of his fellow performers, persisting despite a sense that this entertainment is not likely long for this world. This would be sufficient to base a film around, but the directors instead add a somewhat silly fictional overlay: As a result of some petty arguments over electricity with the trailer next door, Tairo’s bent horseshoe good luck charm is stolen. Superstition leads the young man to seek out the man who bent it for him when Tairo was just a boy, Arthur Robin, the first black Mister Universe. The remainder of the film follows Tairo as he visits with family members on a leisurely search for Robin’s present whereabouts. As with most hybrid projects, it’s questionable what benefit there is in mixing fact and fiction.