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In 1954, legendary filmmaker Samuel Fuller (PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET, SHOCK CORRIDOR) was sent by 20th Century Fox to the most remote regions of the Amazon to scout locations for his upcoming film TIGRERO!, a rousing adventure tale that was to star John Wayne, Ava Gardner and Tyrone Power. Fuller brought with him 75 cigars, two cases of whiskey, a gun, and a 16mm camera. There Fuller befriended the Karaja Indians, lived with them, and photographed their ceremonies and way of life. Reluctantly, Fuller returned to Hollywood but the film was never made.
Forty years later, Sam Fuller returns to the Brazilian jungle, bringing with him his friend and fellow filmmaker Jim Jarmusch (DEAD MAN, DOWN BY LAW), a camera crew and the footage he'd shot those many years earlier. The ultimate storyteller, Sam tells Jim about his time with the Karaja, his career in Hollywood and his unique philosophy of life. They show the Karaja the footage Sam shot, conjuring up their friends and loved ones, some who's faces they haven't seen for decades. TIGRERO: A FILM THAT WAS NEVER MADE is priceless travelogue, a meditation on the power of film and the magic of memory, and a loving portrait of a gentle and spiritual culture.
- New Digital Widescreen Transfer (1.78:1) Enhanced for 16x9 TVs
- Audio commentary by Jim Jarmusch and director Mika Kaurismaki
- Samuel Fuller's 1954 16mm CinemaScope footage (2.35:1) Enhanced for 16x9
- Deleted scenes and behind the scenes footage
- Excerpts from Fuller's unproduced screenplay for Tigrero!
- Gallery of photographs taken by Jim Jarmusch on location
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Top Customer Reviews
Travel to the KARAJA INDIANS with SAM AND JIM and discover a new and
exciting tribe of amazing people near the ARAGUAIA river at the foot of
the Amazon. People who still seem to live in harmony with their environment,
a society without crime. Really amazing people that FULLER knew in
1955 and visited forty years later with his friends, filmmaker MIKA KAURISMAAKI
and JIM JARMUSCH. A brainchild of CHRISTA FULLER, directed by MIKA KAURISMAAKI,
participate in their breathtaking adventure to the AMAZON.Tigrero
In Mika Kaurismäki's 1992 documentary, TIGRERO: A Film that was Never Made, Sam Fuller returns to the same village he based himself in four decades before. American indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch tags along as the interlocutor to which Fuller recounts the whole Hollywood story and comments on how rural Brazil has changed since his first visit. Jarmusch is also interested in the culture of the Karaja, taking photographs of the village (some of which are included as extras in the DVD release) and narrating in voiceover some of their traditions and practices. The downside of this is that the duo talk about the Karaja according to the noble savage stereotype, depicting them as an idyllic people without a care in the world, and the film never confronts the challenges they might have faced now as modernity arrives, or forty years ago when life was no bed of roses either.
The film has an inauspicious beginning, where Jarmusch asks Fuller in Rio de Janeiro why he's there, and it's obvious that this whole (very stilted) dialogue is scripted. Once they subsequently reach the Karaja village, their chats seem more real. The first thing they do in the village is project the footage that Fuller he had shot forty years before to the locals. The Karaja are amazed to see their long-dead relatives and friends. As one Karaja explains the visceral impact that this film footage had on him, Fuller tells him “That’s called emotion,” the same cinematic creed he professed in his cameo role in Godard's Pierrot Le Fou.
Fuller is a funny character. He was already around 80, a wizened old man that seems only about half the height of Jarmusch, but he’s full of energy and enthusiasm for this adventure. He appears almost invariably with a cigar in his mouth and a baseball cap and talks in this really old-timey New York Jewish accent. I honestly found him hard to understand at points, it's like watching someone speaking Elizabethan English step out into the world of 1992.
TIGRERO doesn't seem a major achievement in documentary filmmaking, and after one viewing I don't feel in a hurry to ever see it again. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable 75 minutes and I appreciated learning something about this part of the world.
But what makes this film really so interesting is that it really is a tribute to Sam Fuller, the storyteller. His voice permeates the film as he recounts his past and ponders on the future, talking with Jim Jarmusch who follows him on this journey to the village that he once visited while location scouting for TIGRERO.
I can just smell the cigarsmoke. And smile when he laughs!