Berlinale 2017: Two Women Start Fighting Back in Badass 'Tiger Girl'
by Alex Billington
February 11, 2017
This is the first great discovery of the 2017 Berlin Film Festival - it's an excellent film that deserves to break out. Tiger Girl is a low key indie comedy, directed by Jakob Lass, about two women who becomes friends and start taking out the patriarchal trash. It's essentially a "girls fight back" movie and it's so badass and so much fun. Ella Rumpf plays the woman known as "Tiger", a drifter who doesn't take crap from anyone, especially guys; and Maria-Victoria Dragus plays her friend she nicknames "Vanilla", a young woman who fails her entrance exam to the police academy. She's not tough enough, but through this friendship she learns how to kick ass and fight back. It close to being a dark comedy, but either way it's worth seeking out.
This story could've easily been a cheesy mainstream comedy, with the worst kind of jokes, but thankfully it stays smart and stays true to its independent nature - which makes it all the better. It's hard to even figure out which city it takes place in - maybe Berlin, maybe not? The official synopsis is too perfect not to include it: "Tiger gets what she wants. Vanilla does not know what she wants. Apart from one important thing: a uniform. Tiger teach her to bite, and Vanilla tastes blood. So Tiger needs to learn a new rule: They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind." These two learn so much from each other, which is the strength of this film - how much we can learn from a real friendship, and from the people we usually ignore. They grow together.
As much fun as it is to watch these two develop over the course of the film, ultimately the ending is the least satisfying part. It builds and builds and then all of a sudden it's over. No real conclusion. Maybe they want to make a sequel? Sure, I'm down for that, but this one also need to wrap itself up in a nice way. That said, there's so much to enjoy about it and appreciate that it doesn't help to be too critical. This film should be seen and needs to be seen. One of my favorite little jokes - when the police roll up to try and kick Tiger out of her van in a parking lot, she drives a little toy police car around to mock them. It's these kind of touches that make the film so memorable and so funny. Just wait until you see them kick the ass of some idiot bros.
Filmmaker Jakob Lass and actress Ella Rumpf make for a killer combination, bringing to life this awesome character of "Tiger Girl". She is just the right balance of badass and amiable, never going too far into being an unlikable criminal, nor being too soft as to not feel authentic. The film actually follows "Vanilla" as the lead character, though I wish it would've spent more time with "Tiger", as she is the much more intriguing throughout. I appreciate the ambiguity (we never really learn where she came from or why she is the way she is) because that makes her character more compelling to follow. I do hope we get to see more of "Tiger Girl" in the future, but until then, it's worth your time to seek out this film and meet her for the first time.
Alex's Berlinale 2017 Rating: 8.5 out of 10
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