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I AM THE TIGRESS

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by Philipp Fussenegger and Dino Osmanovic

grade: 7

In I am the Tigress, the two filmmakers opted for the most neutral directorial approach possible and let the images speak for themselves. There is no need, in this documentary of theirs, for redundant captions or classic interviews. The camera follows the protagonist in her everyday life and the viewer immediately becomes part of her world, laughs with her, suffers with her and even experiences her most intimate moments. At the Diagonale 2021.

Tischa’s world

Having the courage to change one’s life, to make choices, to totally change one’s body and spirit, in order to gain a new self-awareness. Such a path can often be very difficult and painful. But when one finally reaches one’s goal, the rewards are truly great. This, for example, is the story of Tischa Thomas, protagonist of the documentary I am the Tigress, directed by Philipp Fussenegger and Dino Osmanovic and premiered at the Diagonale 2021.

Tischa is forty-seven years old and lives in the United States. In the past she was a shy, insecure and overweight woman. Then, with time and hard work, everything changed: Tischa trained hard in the gym until she became a bodybuilder and took part in numerous competitions around the world. But Tischa Thomas is not just that. Tischa Thomas is also a grandmother, a mother, a friend. A woman who has done every possible job and who above all wants to motivate through her social channels many other women who feel insecure and are still looking for their own place in the world. Tischa is, then, above all a strong and resilient woman, a fighter, a tigress.

Directors Philipp Fussenegger and Dino Osmanovic wanted to show us in I am the Tigress every single aspect of the protagonist’s life, in order to give us the most comprehensive portrait possible of a woman who has been able to achieve her own satisfaction during her life and who, for this and many other reasons, has so much to tell.

A new competition is about to begin. Tischa is preparing, but not everything is going as hoped. Frustration is high, but there is always time to start again. And then, again, Tischa is at home alone. Suddenly someone knocks on her door. It is her daughter and grandchildren, who have come to visit her. And although still quite young, Tischa is a loving and playful grandmother, who somehow manages to inspire those who still have so much to learn from life.

In I am the Tigress, the two filmmakers opted for the most neutral directorial approach possible and let the images speak for themselves. There is no need, in this documentary of theirs, for redundant captions or classic interviews. The camera follows the protagonist in her everyday life and the viewer immediately becomes part of her world, laughs with her, suffers with her and even experiences her most intimate moments. The special platonic relationship between Tischa and Edward Zahler gives the entire documentary an even more tender and sometimes humorous touch. The videos that Tischa regularly makes for her audience, which we can see both at the beginning and at the end of the film, convey a positive energy. The two filmmakers have succeeded in making a precious little work that goes against all conventions, showing us a fascinating reality, an extraordinary character that we will never forget.

Original title: I am the Tigress
Directed by: Philipp Fussenegger, Dino Osmanovic
Country/year: Austria, Germany, USA / 2021
Running time: 80’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Philipp Fussenegger, Dino Osmanovic
Cinematography: Dino Osmanovic
Produced by: funfairfilms, FFFyeah

Info: the page of I am the Tigress on the website of the Diagonale; the page of I am the Tigress on the website of the FunfairFilms