The Soul Of The Tiger
L'âme du tigre
Directed by François Yang
“An exemplary, nuanced piece of dramatic cinema centering a tortured Chinese-French man who must reconcile clashing cultures, family secrets, and forbidden desires all while unraveling his brother’s mysterious death.” – Sumiko Braun, Features Programming Committee
François Yang in attendance!
SOUL OF THE TIGER is a fascinating hybrid. Using the observational, low-key style of contemporary French cinema (think Mia Hansen-Løve or Oliver Assayas’s CLEAN), the Chinese-Swiss helmer Francois Yang tackles a subject familiar to this Festival’s audiences in his feature debut: the Asian émigré torn between East and West.
The film opens with handsome, athletic Alex Chen (Frédéric Siuen) rock-climbing with his girlfriend, Eloane (Audrey Bastien). Their blissful weekend escape is interrupted by shocking news: Alex’s brother, Jun, suddenly drops dead. As Alex returns to Paris to mourn and investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding Jun’s death, he begins confronting his long-ignored Chinese heritage. Believing that Jun’s fate is tied to visits to China, Alex enlists his Chinese cousin, Lili (Xin Wang) as a kind of cultural emissary/translator to find out more. As he digs deeper, Alex becomes enmeshed in cultural conflict, torn between Lili and his steady French paramour, and finding himself mediating a rupture between his Chinese father, who seeks refuge in rituals, and his inconsolable French mother, who wants to grieve privately.
SOUL OF THE TIGER, which first screened at the Zurich Film Festival, is infused with autobiographical details. Alex’s internal turmoil reflects the Swiss-born Yang’s own youthful rebellion against his Chinese heritage and the epiphanies Yang had while mourning the death of his own younger brother. And while plenty of films squeeze the protagonists in a cross-cultural pressure-cooker, Yang handles this familiar trope with remarkable subtlety. Yang keeps his camera close to his characters, observing Alex as he sorts out his own confusion and his troubled relationships. Avoiding the crude signifiers and heavy-handed symbolism that frequently plague films about identity, SOUL OF THE TIGER is an artful exploration of a Chinese-Frenchman’s struggle to straddle both worlds.
— Ryan Wu
Community Partner: Consulate General of Belgium in Los Angeles
François Yang was born in Fribourg (Switzerland). He graduated from the Cinema Department of ECAL (Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne / University of Art and Design, Lausanne) in 2003, and completed his education at la Fémis (french national film school). He directed several documentaries, exploring both cross-cultural and intergenerational themes. THE SOUL OF THE TIGER (Emergence award winner 2012) is his first feature film.
Producers: Xavier Grin, Joseph Rouschop
Director: François Yang
Writers: François Yang, Marcel Beaulieu
Cinematographer: Daniel Miller
Sound: Jürg Lempen
Sound Editings: Gabriel Hafner, François Musy
Sound Mixer: Franco Piscopo
Composer: Benjamin Violet
Editing: Daniel Gibel
Casting Director: Christel Baras
Cast: Frédéric Siuen, Audrey Bastien, Xin Wang, Bing Yin, Marianne Basler, Yves Yan, Shue Tien, Ariane Wang