The Tiger’s Nest {Children’s International Film Festival/CHIFF} – Film Review

Balmani (Sunny Pawar), a young orphan boy, rescues an orphaned tiger cub hunted by ruthless poachers. Setting off on a treacherous journey, Balmani and the tiger cub Mukti’s bond while travelling in search of Mukti’s new home, The Tiger’s Nest, high up in the Himalayas.

Filled with beautiful and breathtaking landscapes, The Tiger’s Nest takes you on a wild adventure through the forest, past waterfalls, and up high into the Himalayan mountains, giving a glimpse into Nepal and the Himalayas, and touching on very day to day life not seen often in cinema. I loved the cultural aspect laced into the film; from folk stories, seeing the various tribes, and most importantly, the visually stunning scenery.

Animal lovers are in for a treat as many animals, big and small, are featured throughout Balmani and Mukti’s journey, highlighting the harmony between humans and animals, and how many can co-exist without harming each other. Although, at times, it did feel like I was watching Animal Planet as the addition of these scenes felt a little out of place.

The Tiger’s Nest bravely touches on harsh realities not often seen in children’s films such as animal cruelty, orphans, Asian culture, as well as tragedies and natural disasters. It was not sugar coated, which is what is often seen in children’s films. Instead, the film is very raw and real without losing its hope, dreams, and courageous adventures.

The story is reflective and thought provoking. Balmani is loveable, but I felt Pawar’s acting was a little rigid and missing more emotion. However, the chemistry between Balmani and Mukti is very heartwarming and believable.

The addition of Miss Hannah (Claudia Gerini), the orphanage’s teacher, felt a little out of place, and truthfully a little uncomfortable to watch. Nothing against the actress, she was great, but it felt like there was a need to forcefully add a blonde actress amongst the cast; and she most certainly did stand out.

The overall editing of the film is quite jumpy and did not flow as well as I had hoped. The film also has very slow pacing. Unfortunately, I found The Tiger’s Nest was not particularly engaging at some parts and it may be hard for young audiences to focus on.

The Tiger’s Nest is an excellent source to teach young viewers about animal protection, although it feels like what the film wanted to say didn’t come out the way it initially was planned. I still enjoyed the story of growth and self-acceptance with Balmani trying to find his sense of belonging after losing his mother.

The Tiger’s Nest showcases an unlikely bond between two orphans searching for their new home, making friendships along the way, and left me with warm fuzzy feelings.

The Tiger’s Nest is currently playing as part of of the 2023 Children’s International Film Festival (CHIFF) until June 12.
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