Tigrero: A Film That Was Never Made
While Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki — whose pitch-black tragicomedies like The Match Factory Girl put the dead in deadpan — has a cult following in the States, his older brother Mika is less well-known. These movies reveal Mika as more earnest and less surefooted but still intriguing. His prison drama Condition Red is a somber character study of an illicit affair between a corrections officer (James Russo) and a beautiful, intelligent inmate (Cynda Williams). It’s spare and effective, except for the climax, which bogs down in tired slo-mo theatrics. Tigrero: A Film That Was Never Made features crusty pulp filmmaker Samuel Fuller (Shock Corridor) taking director/acolyte Jim Jarmusch to the Brazilian rain forest, where Fuller had wanted to set a picture starring John Wayne and Ava Gardner 40 years earlier. Though many conversations are stilted, in a Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom sort of way, the story is fascinating, and Kaurismaki deftly touches on issues of cultural imperialism without getting preachy.
Condition Red: C+