The Sunday Classic
Tyger directed by Guilherme Marcondes was on my radar for the blog almost as soon as I had commenced writing two years ago. I keep some rich movies back to ensure a mix as the months progress. It gets into my Sunday Classic category now. Set in the director's native São Paulo and featuring the Japanese art of Bunraku puppetry blended with photographic images and CGI, Tyger is based on a poem I know well having taught the blessed thing on many occasions: William Blake's "The Tiger". I am unable to spot the religious resonance of the original but certainly the fear and dread comes across, together with the burning symmetry, the awe. Into a modern city at dusk appears a huge tiger, rivalling King Kong for size and even more fierce. As the inhabitants go about their nefarious pursuits, the tiger prowls, roars, inducing fear and fascination both, its larger than life reality overpowering their paper-thin presence. His appearance brings the jungle into the city as creepers spread their neon tentacles ever more gloriously, insects fly, and a whale leaps in the bay. The three puppeteers, clad in black, seem to add menace to the orange glow of the screen with the beast itself illuminated by a glaring lamp to bring it into ever greater prominence. This is spectacle par excellence as the giant cat appears on the city's skyline and roars; the city's underpasses queue with 2D vehicles morphed into giant mollusks; whilst in the football stadium under streaming floodlights the inhabitants transmogrify in an eruption of flying insects and cockroaches; and outside the nightclub the brutes in bow ties become gorillas, their fancy clients toucans. Some of the scenes are extraordinary as propelled by its dark masters, to a pulsating soundtrack by Zeroum, the tiger walks amongst Lilliputians, towering over highways that are Scalextric in proportion. Somehow or other the flat, cut-out feel to the monochrome figures works alongside the explosive puppetry in a magnificent movie and compelling vision. Consider how lately the jungle has asserted itself in the world of city finance though sadly without any of the charm of the tiger, not a jot.
Biography: "I was born in São Paulo, Brazil. I started working as an illustrator when I was still in Architecture school. In 2000 I joined the Brazilian animation studio Lobo where I worked for five years, eventually directing spots for international clients such as Diesel, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. In 2005 I went to London to direct the build-up campaign for that year's Europe Music Awards at MTV Networks. I came back to São Paulo and directed "Tyger", a short, film that won more than 20 awards around the world. I moved to Los Angeles in 2006 and worked for a year at the renowned studio Motion Theory. I'm currently living in New York, directing short films and commercials." (Sources: photograph Flux, words Guilherme's website - guilherme.tv )