Easy Tiger *
Starring: Mickaël Pelissier, Giada Castioni, Casper Wubbolts, Evgenia Brendes
Director: Karel Tuytschaefer
A psychologist (Pelissier) is taken aback when an unexpected moment with a client (Wubbolts) leads to him crossing boundaries with his patient. Though communication with his wife (Castioni) has been difficult with his wife for some time, he finds that he can communicate easier with this client – who is deaf – than he can with her.
An almost dialogue-free film, director Tuytschaefer set out to create a movie that would be the same experience both for a hearing audience and the hearing impaired. Subsequently, sign language is subtitled, there are minimal sound effects, music or reliance on any audio and the entire narrative comes from what you can see. Accessible though this idea might be, it does leave the film feeling somewhat incomplete, as well as painfully slow at times. It also doesn’t explain why characters who can hear have peculiarly surrendered their ability to talk too, using much more ambiguous means of communication. This might be an artistic choice from the director, but to a casual audience this is dense and difficult.
With long and lingering shots, it doesn’t help itself in the edit too. Arduous pacing makes its already challenging form even more difficult to gift your patience. A poetic narration – which is seemingly meaningless to the story – is subtitled on screen at times, adding more layers of pointless distractions, clunkily assembling a smoke screen for the film’s painful lack of plot.
Honourable though its intentions might be, Easy Tiger is an artistically opaque film that pays more attention to being clever than being clear. Its bells and whistles do not detract from its lack of substance, feeling about as satisfying as a bag of crisps after a day’s hiking. With thin characters and a weak story, it feels like the director simply needed a vessel for gimmick.
UK Release: 10th July 2023 on DVD and VOD, released by TLA Releasing