Opening 17 Aug 2017
In short order we have three German films about young girls experiencing adolescence. First there was Axoloti Overkill (about Mifti, age 16), followed by Das Pubertier (about Clara, age 14). Now Tigermilch must struggle to stand up to a positive comparison. Here, Nini (Thiemann) and Jameelah (Kusche), two 14-year-old girls, are friends in Berlin. Nina lives with her do-nothing mother, the mother’s boyfriend, and her small, undisciplined half-sister. Nina’s father ran away long ago, leaving her as the only responsible member in a patchwork family. Jameelah and her mother fled from Iraq after her father and brother were killed and now await confirmation of German citizenship. Amir (Rashed) is also in their circle of friends. He came from Bosnia with his parents, his older brother Tarik (Alexandru Cirneala) and an older sister Jasna (Luna Zimic Mijavic).This family also has problems; Jasna is in love with Dragan (Joachim Foerster), but he comes from Serbia and the two cultures must not mix, something which Tarik is determined to enforce.
The plot goes back and forth between the families with Nina and Jameelah always the main interest as they test the limits of adolescence. It could probably go on forever, but ends after 106 minutes. In that time, Nina and Jameelah observe prostitutes on a Berlin main street; they steal from men in cars and practice how to attract the opposite sex. They shoplift, witness a murder, and drink tiger milk, which is a homemade mixture of milk, passion fruit juice, and Maricron, a wine with 36% alcohol. The idea for the film is based on a book of the same title by Stefanie de Velasco. Some events are rather unbelievable. For example, do 14-year-olds really want to lose their virginity and actually succeed? Can 14-year-olds visit someone in prison without adult supervision? Tigermilch always comes across as just play acting; never can one sit back and enjoy the feeling of connecting to real life. I hope that young actresses Thiemann and Kusche soon have better roles to play; they have the talent and the charisma. (Becky Tan)