Well, the then octogenarian maverick movie director Samuel Fuller is animated enough, and his co-star, indy director Jim Jarmusch, is laid back enough to make an interesting screen duo in Finnish director Mika Kaurismäki's 1994's TIGRERO: A FILM THAT WAS NEVER MADE.
`Tigrero,' the unmade film in question, is a movie Fuller had sold to the studios in the 1950s. It's a love story larded onto a profile of a `tigrero,' a hunter of tigers, or jaguars, I guess, in the wilds of Brazil. The movie was a go, even had a cast - John Wayne as the tiger hunter, Ava Gardner and Tyrone Powell as the uneasily married couple - when it was quashed when insurance companies blanched and refused to underwrite the production. Not before, however, Fuller and crew had traveled into the interior of Brazil and spent some time filming a native village located on the Amazon River. The film went into the can and Fuller went on to other projects. Nearly four decades later Kaurismäki, an independent movie producer like Jarmusch, gets funding for a project to revisit the same village with Fuller and Jarmusch.
Part documentary, part travelogue, part improvised fiction, TIGRERO: A FILM THAT WAS NEVER MADE is the result. The pre-departure scenes are improvised and awkward, and the journey - how they get to the village and get out - is never really shown. Fuller, an anecdote machine if you've ever seen one, is/was a great hero to Kaurismäki and Jarmusch, and simply turning a camera on him and saying action probably would have been enough. The return to the village - Fuller isn't sure it's the same one, and it takes a while for him to be sure - comes across okay. Later, the village gathers together and the filmmakers show Fuller's old footage, which causes some people to recognize mothers, fathers, even themselves, and that comes across okay. In fact, everything comes across okay, although none of it, as Fuller would say, grabbed me by my ... privates. I guess you can file this one under `Interesting, Mild Disappointment.'
Also included on the disk is 20 minutes or so of the original, wide screen, color footage Fuller took in the 50s; fifteen-minutes or so of outtakes and additional footage of the 1994 movie; Jim Jarmusch's personal photos (good photographer); and a relaxed and reminiscence filled commentary track with Kaurismäki and Jarmusch. Fans of Fuller and Jarmusch should give it a look.