Connect with us

Film

Fantasia 2018: ‘Tigers are Not Afraid’ is a Morbid Fantasy About Youth

Akin to last year’s The Florida ProjectTigers Are Not Afraid centers around youth trapped in an inhospitable environment. They are always on the run, always keeping an eye behind their shoulder, and always barely making it through the day. Of course, a lot of it is because children are generally naive, but in Issa Lopez’s film, the children are acutely aware of how risky life is. The kids in Tigers Are Not Afraid are without parents, and thus put into a precarious situation of trying to live alone, but also with demons constantly knocking at their door.

Set in an urban area of Mexico, Estrella (Paola Lara) is forced to confront the possibility that her mother is gone forever when she arrives home from school one afternoon to find herself alone. School’s out for the foreseeable future (after a shooting outside of the building by drug cartels), so when she stumbles upon Shine (Juan Ramon Lopez), she is positioned in a world where the only way to survive is to be aggressive and smart. However, as she’s forced into the darkness, there’s a bit of hope emerging at the same time that not all is lost.

Tigers are Not Afraid

The balance of light and dark in Tigers Are Not Afraid keeps the film moving at a steady pace, as Estrella is almost always pushed forward because she is trying to avoid the despair. Blended with CG fairy-tale visuals, Estrella’s journey often gains momentum as she moves away from these terrifying instances. A haunting image of a woman wrapped in a plastic bag slowly crawling towards her manifests itself at the end of these fairy-tale moments. They’re dark, creepy, and very reminiscent of Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. Director Issa Lopez mixes the innocence of childhood with the depravity of Mexico’s drug war to a very somber conclusion. She doesn’t dwell on the evil lurking in the shadows, but doesn’t shy away from using it as a fear tactic.

Lopez’s film shines because its subjects are not often placed within a narrative like this. As the children sink deeper into this world, their situation feels less and less like the innocent, naive life they once knew. For someone like Shine, you question whether he ever really knew it. Both lead actors are great, playing tough, compassionate, pure children. Shine’s stubbornness and weariness meshes with Estrella’s eagerness to do what’s right — even if what seems right bears little weight in her new situation. Tigers Are Not Afraid counters hope with hopelessness, leaving the film with a morbid look at youth — one that defines it as one of the best coming-of-age films, and a harrowing take on the effects of the drug war on the youth of Mexico.

fantasia logo

The Fantasia Film Festival runs July 12 – August 2. Visit the official website for more information.

Written By

Chris is a graduate of Communications from Simon Fraser University and resides in Victoria, British Columbia. Given a pint, he will talk for days about action films, video games, and the works of John Carpenter.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook

Trending

Michael Jackson’s Thriller Michael Jackson’s Thriller

The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the Best Music Video Ever Made

TV

BEST AEW PPV Matches 2022 BEST AEW PPV Matches 2022

Best AEW PPV Matches of 2022

Wrestling

Godzilla vs. Gigan Rex Godzilla vs. Gigan Rex

Godzilla vs. Gigan Rex Review: One of Godzilla’s Finest Recent Outings

Culture

Lost Bullet 2 Lost Bullet 2

Lost Bullet 2 Delivers The Finest of Vehicular Mayhem

Film

Greatest Film Noir Movies Greatest Film Noir Movies

Noirvember: 50 Greatest Film Noir Movies Part 1

Culture

Long-Awaited 5-25-77 is a Coming-of-Age Triumph 

Film

Noirvember: 50 Greatest Film Noir Movies Part 2 Noirvember: 50 Greatest Film Noir Movies Part 2

Noirvember: 50 Greatest Film Noir Movies Part 2

Culture

Blockbuster, photo via Netflix Blockbuster, photo via Netflix

Blockbuster: Netflix’s Latest Workplace Comedy Misses the Mark

Culture

Streaming services Streaming services

Streaming Wars and Streaming Headaches

Culture

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio movie review Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio movie review

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio Breathes New Life into the Classic Fable

Culture

Prince Namor The Submariner Prince Namor The Submariner

Who is Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner in Wakanda Forever?

Culture

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) review Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) review

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a Flawed but Worthy Follow-Up

Film

A Dickensian Disaster: Spirited is a Practically Unwatchable Take on A Christmas Carol

Film

Philadelphia Film Festival Philadelphia Film Festival

2022 Philadelphia Film Festival Feature Roundup

Film

Montreal Screwjob Montreal Screwjob

25 Years of the Montreal Screwjob, the Moment that Changed Everything in Wrestling 

Culture

Black Panther Black Panther

Recasting the Deceased: T’Challa, Dumbledore, and the Worst Hollywood Problem

Culture

Connect