Tigrero: A Film That Was Never Made
Silver-haired indie director Jim Jarmusch accompanies elderly director Sam Fuller deep into the Amazon jungle in this 1994 documentary by a Finn, Mika Kaurismäki. The old man wants to revisit a village where he scouted a feature (ultimately unmade) for Daryl F. Zanuck in 1955; scenes of the Karaja natives watching their dead relatives in the 40-year-old footage Fuller brings along is quite moving and adds to the aura of benevolence that surrounded this old man of the cinema until his death last year.
Time evidently made Fuller, a sometime gun-firing obsessive, ever more lovable -- with his scraggly white hair and raspy voice he resembles a cigar-smoking version of the Thelma Ritter character in his old film Pickup on South Street. The old man's friends clearly include the doting Jarmusch, who narrates much of the film while displaying his own real interest in the culture of the people they're visiting. It's easy to see some of what Jarmusch experienced here feeding into his anti-western Dead Man, filmed shortly after this documentary was shot; that feature has the same respect for native culture that we see both men showing here.
Tigrero: A Film That Was Never Made screens Tuesday through Thursday, April 28-30, at 6, 8, and 10 p.m. at the Roxie, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia). There are also matinees on Wednesday at 2 and 4 p.m. Tickets are $6; call 863-1087.