Filmmaker Cyprien Vial focuses on illegal immigration and moral issues in his new groundbreaking film 'Young Tiger'
a movie review by Oliver Carnay

A new film from debuting feature writer-director Cyprien Vial stands out among the films I've seen at the ongoing Santa Barbara International Film Festival (January 27 until February 7).

"Young Tiger" ("Bebe Tiger") is a story of 15-year old Many (great performance played by non-actor Harmandeep Palminder), forced to work in Paris because he needs to send money to his parents in Punjab, India. The problem is he is not allowed to work because he is still an illegal immigrant and a minor. Under the national law, he should be taken cared of by a social worker and get guidance from the foster family who helps him save money, which is limited. He found a way taking side jobs and works as an assistant through Kamal (Vikram Sharma) at his construction firm, the same smuggler who helped him get into the city. Kamal also uses him to transport illegal immigrants and passports.

Two years past and he is still juggling his daily schedule between school, his demanding Counselor, his new girlfriend, and assisting Kamal with his illegal activities, his options are getting narrow to make both ends meet. He finds a better solution in helping a newly transported illegal immigrant and making a big decision of just doing the right thing. A big stakeout and sacrifice is prepared to end his agony and hopefully survive in the city who has a lot to offer for his future.

The film set in a community of the burgeoning mecca of illegal immigrants from the Sikh community and in Arab and African growing communities in Paris. Writer-director Vial greatly captured the realistic atmosphere and vivid look of illicit manual labor with the help of its lead whose character is touching and consistently believable, a compelling performance that you can feel and relate with throughout the film. Vial is a director to watch.

The film has won Best Film and Jury Award at the recent Saint-Jean-de-Luz 2014 and participated at Namur FIFF 2014, First Film Competition, and is currently running in different festival circuit.