Imagine - Tigers are not Afraid
Issa López / MX, 2017 / 83 min.
The drug war has taken a heavy toll on a Mexican town. Ordinary citizens are killed, like ten-year-old Estrella's mother. To join a group of boys roughly her age, Estrella first has to kill one of the gangsters... which puts all of them in extreme danger. Startling film makes you realize once more what a little dose of fantasy can do to an extremely grim tale.
On the face of it this could be a gritty, realist drama about the devastating effects of gang wars on communities. But director Issa López infuses the story with a dose of magic. Animated bits of tigers - as toys and as graffiti - pop up and the impending danger is shown as small lines of blood that run over floors and walls. All this makes Tigers Are Not Afraid a dark fairytale with the friendship of the children as its warm beating heart. The tragic and violence are never underplayed, but beautifully balanced by the moments of magic. Pan”s Labyrinth by way of Narcos.