Review: 'Three Tidy Tigers Tied A Tie Tighter' a Cosmic Parody

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday April 2, 2022

'Three Tidy Tigers Tied A Tie Tighter'
'Three Tidy Tigers Tied A Tie Tighter'  (Source:Carneiro Verde)

Director Gustavo Vinagre takes a walk on the wildly surreal side with "Three Tidy Tigers Tied A Tie Tighter," in which a trio of queer twenty-somethings wander São Paulo for a day. Along the way they encounter hints of romance, prompt satirical scenarios, and participate in what's either a supernatural salon or a drug-fueled jam session at a junk shop.

Set against the COVID-inspired backdrop of a global pandemic, roommates Isabella (Isabella Pereira), a student, and Pedro (Pedro Ribeiro), an online sex worker, pay a visit to an elderly client of Pedro's, Omar (Everaldo Pontes). Accompanying them is Pedro's visiting nephew Jonata (Jonata Vieira), who's in town for a doctor's appointment since his rural community is too closed-minded for him to feel comfortable obtaining his HIV meds there.

The city is in the grip of a new wave of viral infections — the "oblivion" virus, which causes its victims to forget... well, everything, evidently. Mask wearing, social distancing, and the frequent use of disinfectants on hands and sprayed into open mouths are all part of the new normal, as are canceled exams and surging joblessness.

Signs of the virus' spread are everywhere, but so are glimmers of a vibrant gay underground. A YouTube makeup artist plies her trade on a street corner; a poster of two men kissing causes a child to puke golden glitter and then magically transform into a flamboyant gay youth (to his mother's horror movie screams); a hairless guinea pig turns out to have a talent for drag. Also, the drug-dealing amateur singer who supplies Omar with his homegrown organic weed turns out to preside over a cosmically queer speakeasy, where orgies are carried out by way of musical instruments. (It recalls the original meaning of "jazz.")

All of this is overtly satirical, of course, but serious commentary lies beneath, much as posters of Jair Bolsonaro — Brazil's defiantly homophobic, and defiantly incompetent, president — lurk underneath the above-mentioned poster of two men kissing. similarly, memories of happier days and tragic past traumas propel the film's atmospheric mix of jaunty surrealist adventure and enduring grief, while striking symbolism abounds (an indigenous woman speaking from a bank note, a boat left aground in a dried-up waterway).

Vinagre presents a vision of resilient hope and resistance, but it's cheek-by-jowl with notes of bitterness and even cynicism; at one point, Omar opines that there's no such thing as love, only "special hookups." For some, "Three Tidy Tigers" will belie the film's meditations on inevitable forgetting (both social and personal), remaining stamped on the mind for days to come; for others, perhaps, it will all seem as strange and evanescent as a dream.

"Three Tidy Tigers Tied A Tie Tighter" plays as a Centerpiece selection at Wicked Queer Boston LGBTQ Film Festival on April 15. For more information, follow this link.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.