Besides daggers, mirrors and labyrinths, the Argentinian poet Borges felt an intense connection to tigers, and while reading Kipling’s Jungle Book as a kid, he was upset that Shere Khan was a villain and not the protagonist’s friend.

I felt a similar unease when watching Sebastián Lelio’s Year of the Tiger, a film that tells the sorrowful story of a man who, after being released from prison due to an earthquake, finds a displaced tiger, dying of hunger in a cage by the sea.

He frees the tiger but finds that freedom — chaos, randomness, life, human nature – are liable to bring catastrophe, devastation and death. Dealing with those realities also takes its tole on his sanity.

Filmed on a handheld digital camera, the lens floats about the movie’s protagonist as though it were a fly. In other words: the movie plays out with an intense, almost suffocating realism, which is occasionally interrupted by a hallucinatory and catchy soundtrack.

If you’re in the mood for a drama with the poetic density of Stonehenge and an octopus-ink dark sense of humor, check out Tiger. It reeks of man’s weakness and puts humanity in its place (nature > man), but it does so in an hour and 20 minutes, so it’s quite a pithy dose of gloom.

Year of the Tiger plays at 7:30 p.m.

Other Highlights: Monday, April 16

A Balloon For Allah is about a girl pleading with her god for an expanded role for women in Islam. She sends her message to Allah via balloon and travels the world to talk with Muslim women about their role in the religion. (1:30 p.m.)

A Girl Like Her looks at woman who, when pregnant and young in the 50s, were sent to maternity wards to give birth and then go home, childless. It’s a look into the life of secret mothers. (5:15 p.m.)

Café de Flore
is Jean-Marc Vallée’s latest effort. It tells two seemingly disconnected stories – one is about a Canadian DJ and his new girlfriend; the other is about a mom and her son, who has Down syndrome — which explore the tensions that arise when an individual’s desires aren’t matched by society.

For the festival schedule, and a complete listing of all the movies being shown, click here. Ticket information is available here.

For more of the WCCO Movie Blog’s coverage on the MSPIFF, click here.


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