New England Premiere

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2017 • Mexico • 86 min.

Director: Issa López
Screenwriter: Issa López
Cast: Paola Lara, Hanssel Casillas, Rodrigo Cortes

March 25, 2018 @ 6:15 pm

Brattle Theatre

Ten-year old Estrella lives with her mother in a Mexican border town where street violence is endemic and daily life revolves around dodging bullets. One such day at school, as the children lie on the ground while guns blast outside their classroom, Estrella’s teacher gives her pieces of chalk, deeming them “three wishes,” to comfort her.

Upon returning home, Estrella finds her mother is missing and logically makes her first wish. While granted, the wish isn’t all she’d hoped for and soon the girl ends up on the streets. Joining a gang of children borne of the same tragic predicament, Estrella is simultaneously a glimmer of hope and an inadvertent spark igniting a dangerous chain of events. Supplanting some of their reality-based horror with phantasmagorical creatures and animated plush toys, the unthinkable becomes easier to grapple with for resilient children thrown into a living nightmare and an audience that bears witness to their plight.

Mexican writer/director Issa López is one of the most highly revered women in film south of the border. Her third feature as director, Tigers Are Not Afraid acknowledges the orphaned children of those murdered by Mexico’s cartels who remain caught in the literal and figurative crossfire of a society under siege. Left behind to fend for themselves, these children must find their own way in a world they did not create and cannot comprehend.

Violent, terrifying and magical in equal measure, Tigers Are Not Afraid is a stunning fairytale that fearlessly explores the struggle to survive from a child’s perspective and gives voice to an entire generation abandoned by society.

– Nicole McControversy

Playing With:


Charles Cheval, France, 16 min.

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