“TIGER MILK”— Leaving Childhood Behind


Leaving Childhood Behind

Amos Lassen

Nini (Flora Tiemann) and Jameelah (Emily Kusche) are 14 year old best friends. Summer has begun and Berlin is their playground. They drink tiger milk (a mix of passion fruit, milk, and brandy), they flirt and have fun using their innocent charm. This summer they know that are going to have sex and find true love with Nico and Lukas. But when Jameelah’s family is threatened with deportation back to Iraq, the two girls realize that their friendship is more important than ever. This is a story about leaving childhood behind.

Nini and Jameelah are mature for their age and are discovering the world and their many experiences because they are balancing on a narrow scale this summer being somewhere between still-being kids and being grown-up. They know how to use this to their advantage. The  celebrate a lot, smoke secretly and roam their neighborhood and think it’s great to spend time with each other. Their conversations are about love and also about her own family. Nini and Jameelah live in one of Berlin’s problem areas. They have known each other since elementary school. We not only meet them meet but also their friends, family, teachers and also the guys they are just in love with.

This is basically t a film about friendship, love and dreams and takes its characters very seriously. We go into their personal worlds of experience, and at the same time explore Berlin and its inhabitants.

It is also about politics, and how it affects the small lives of normal people and can destroy them. Suddenly, Jameelah’s family  that has once fled from Iraq, faces deportation. At the same time Nini has a hard times; her mother is an alcoholic with regular crashes and in the block of flats  where they live girl is killed by her boyfriend and the two happen to see it happen.

Director Ute Wieland remains true to her characters, even if they make a mess of time  and brings us a film about young people without stereotypes. The dual perspective of this story with two main figures of equal standing also prevents one-sidedness and unpleasant moralizing.

Eventually, the situation comes to a head, and the girls have serious quarrels but that also passes.The summer is full of tears and tiger milk and a test of friendship because of the possibility of deportation of Jameelah and her family. It threatens to tear the two girlfriends apart.

The girls look older than they really are and have their private problems, but they are not seen as problematic. They know how to help themselves when they get in trouble. They are vulnerable and hard at the same time, petty-criminals yet full of empathy and caring for the people around them; they are still innocent and at the same time thoroughly driven.

The life and problems of the multicultural living blocks, which mean everyday life for thousands of young people in Germany are the focus as we move toward the turning point in the film, in which the portrayal of youthful innocence as well as the implied differences of the protagonists are taken to the extreme.

Although tiger milk is thematically very interesting, not everything goes smoothly from a cinematic perspective. The turning point happens quickly and unexpectedly, after which the movie becomes chaos but not so chaotic that we lose the film.

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