Hot Docs 2015: “Drawing the Tiger” (2015) ★★★★★


The path you are intended to take means nothing if there is no one there to support you along the way. Dreaming big does not mean the dream will come true. Unfortunately, some people are destined to struggle, to live in poverty, work for next to nothing, and simply waste their life washing clothes and dishes. According to the old Nepalese people, wherever you go, your destiny will go with you. The Darnal family, pursuing a scholarship opportunity, sends their smartest child, Shanta Darnal to school to become a doctor. Doing this will help to change their present situation as well, and they can look forward to a better future. When one day Shantal does come back home, they start questioning themselves- ‘Is it their destiny to live as they do, is this the way it was meant to be, almost like, drawing the tiger?

The difficulties presented in Drawing the Tiger, directed by Amy Benson, Ramyata Limbu, and Scott Squire over a period of seven years, is much bigger than any of us can imagine. However, they manage to narrow all the difficulties faced into one big family, showing their daily struggles and how they make it through one day to the next, with nothing to look forward to; nothing that will take them out of the dark tunnel they are in, to the light… but in the end, most of these Nepalese families see only darkness when they reach the end of the tunnel. This makes the audience question themselves, and ask if there was anything we could have done to help to support them?

Shanta Darnal, is a fifteen year old girl whose goal is to become a doctor. She apparently is the most educated girl in her village; the one who has the best chance to reach her goal. But when she is sent to the big city, with all the pressures that have been put on her, Shantal begins to ask herself if her family really cares about her? What are their expectations? How far can she go if she is left to battle all her problems alone? In this film, the life of a Nepalese village is captured very well. We see how they have no purpose in their lives. This may frighten the audience and force them to face the reality of a people, who unfortunately can`t even afford to see the film based on their own lives.

Drawing the Tiger is probably one of the most powerful, breathtaking, and absolutely shocking documentaries films I`ve seen in a while. It clearly shows us that education is the key to succeed in life. But how can those who want to be successful change their fate for good if they live somewhere where no one cares about them? How could Shantal Darnal have been expected to make it to the end of this film safe and sound under such tremendous pressures? The problem is huge, and the answer is very simple – society must stop helping those who are capable of achieving what they strive for without assistance and instead turn their attentions to families like the Darnal’s, who are in need of being heard, listened to, and helped by those who call themselves the builders of a brighter future. Should human beings praise themselves for what they have accomplished and celebrate our achievements when there are still people in the world like the Darnal family who are neglected and ignored. Drawing the Tiger answer to this question pretty straight…

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