Tiger Within
Stars: Edward Asner, Margot Josefsohn, Erica Piccininni, Diego Josef, Taylor Nichols and Liza Asner
Director: Rafel Zielinski
Scriptwriter: Gina Wendkos
Composer: Mark Tischanz
Cinematographer: Helge Gerull
Film Art Planet
Rating: not rated but could be strong PG 13 for adult content and profanity
Running Length: 104 Minutes

It has been almost two years since Edward Asner passed away. Ed was a busy person until his passing - doing voice-overs, interviews and acting. “Tiger Within” is one of his last films and it is a gem of acting skill. The new actress who works with Ed is Margot Josefsohn, using wit, profanity and physical action to define her character. This works against Asner’s character of maturity, patience and letting every vowel and movement count. “Tiger Within” is really an acting lesson. Director Rafel Zielinski lets the actors do what they do best---act.

The story line begins in Ohio, several years ago, and the camera follows a young woman named Casey (Margot Josefsohn who resembles a young Goldie Hawn) awakening in a cluttered room filled with her art work. We follow her to school where her outlandish clothing and attitude creates friction and she ends up at a place of solace – a tattoo parlor. Casey does love to sketch and this is a form of expressing her true feelings.  The two lives of Casey and Samuel (Asner) are shown separately as Casey attempts to attend school and be polite to her mother’s boyfriend. Doesn’t work, so Casey takes off on her own to go to California and be with her father---deciding at the last moment to live on her own there.

Then, we meet Samuel (Edward Asner) and follow him through his daily routine. He is a member of the Jewish religion and observes things dear to him including visiting his late wife’s grave at a local Jewish cemetery, and a tender kiss on the headstone. He walks slowly, using a cane, and on this day, he sees someone sleeping by a headstone.  Nearby, is a black jacket and Nazi swastika painted on the back. Samuel befriends Casey, treats her to a meal, offers his apartment for a shower and change of clothing and eventually her barriers are coming down. She learns his past and he learns hers. Two lost people are finding not only each other, but the road to healing. The film continues on a path of growth for Casey and no loneliness for Samuel. Enter street gangs with Nazi swastika on leather jackets, which for Casey is a form of defiance. Misunderstandings, and the type of work Casey can find for spending money are a problem, but then, there comes a form of expressive help and with it the film gains momentum with surprises including the ending.

As for the soundtrack, Mark Tschanz’s music is appropriate to this film, but a bit loud at times. It does get your attention, though. The direction of Rafel Zielinski and Helge Gervill's camera work catch Casey's defiant attitude and Samuel's calm, expressive attitude. Asner acts with every pause or  movement. With Casey, it is getting her attitude  and fast retorts.  A tug-of-war between sarcasm and calmness   Another actor to watch is Diego Josef as Tony, a new friend of Casey’s. 

The Jewish religion serves as a background for this story of two people finding themselves at just the right time of their lives. Truths come forward and the untruths are explained. Ignorance is brushed away and compassion comes forward. As Samuel explains, there is a tiger within everyone – the ability to burst out and hurt on purpose. The individual must learn to control this tiger (represented here as being in a zoo) and let their own personality come forth. Samuel teaches, and Casey listens and there is the story of love, that comes quietly and settles in for a lifetime. This is not the usual girl-on-the-run story and using art to express one’s self is unique.  It is a quiet pastime, allowing one to think deeply, as opposed to music that is expressive, but can be loud and jarring. Whatever fits the individual and, in this case, it is being creative on paper or canvas. "Tiger Hidden" is a savor of remembrance.

Copyright 2023 Marie Asner