Easy Tiger (2022)

Easy Tiger
Director: Karel Tuytschaever
Writer: Nathalie Haspenslagh, Karel Tuytschaever, Melinda Van Berlo
Cast: Mickaël Pelissier, Giada Castioni, Casper Wubbolts, Benjamin Ramon, Hilde Wils, Evgenia Brendes
Part of: Transition International Queer Minority Film Festival
Seen on: 25.8.2022

The psychologist (Mickaël Pelissier) has a good life with his wife (Giada Castioni). But after an especially intense session with his client (Casper Wubbolts), they hug and that contact opens something between them. They start to have an affair, and the psychologist is unable to figure out who he is and what he wants.

Easy Tiger does some very interesting things and tries a lot. Not all of it works, I’d say, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth trying.

The film poster showing the Psychologist (Mickaël Pelissier) sitting on the edge of a bed, looking back and down dejectedly.

Storywise, Easy Tiger didn’t really win me over, I have to say. Things were left unclear a lot (like: why does the client know the wife?), and the way things developed wasn’t all that engaging to me. I didn’t think that I gained much insight into the psychologist – or any other character for that matter. And it’s been only a few days, and I can’t properly remember how things ended because they kind of just petered out? I don’t know. It just didn’t leave much of an impression with its story.

But it is quite memorable in how it is made. The client is hard of hearing, so his session with the psychologist takes place in sign language. (If I am to be any judge of the signing, Wubbolts is probably Deaf himself or at least very fluent in sign language. Pelissier is more awkward.) All conversations the psychologist has with his wife take place in subtitles only, with the images not showing them as the conversation takes place, but in another situation (or not at all). From what I gather, Tuytschaever tried to creat an experience that would be almost the same for Deaf/HoH and hearing folk.

The Psychologist (Mickaël Pelissier) and his client (Casper Wubbolts) standing close together, almost kissing.

That is certainly an interesting attempt, and it is challenging for the audience, necessating some readjustments in viewing habits. And it doesn’t hurt to do that every once in a while. It doesn’t always work for me – like when the psychologist and the client have a heart to heart and they are sitting side by side, and the psychologist is not signing, I kept wondering how the client is supposed to get any of that. Maybe that’s the point of the scene, but since it is a frequent mistake hearing people make when interacting with Deaf people, it seems more like thoughtlessness. Or the fact that the wife doesn’t actually get to say things, but it is the psychologist retelling what she has said to him – that feels weird, too.

I guess that’s what happens when you try new things: not all of those new things will be winners. But if they fail in an interesting way, that’s certainly worth it. And I’d say, that is definitely true for Easy Tiger: it gets a lot of things right, and where it doesn’t, it’s still interesting.

The Psychologist (Mickaël Pelissier) with his wife (Giada Castioni) and his client (Casper Wubbolts) at the beach.

Summarizing: worth to give it a go.

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