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By Don R. Lewis | June 11, 2006

Logan is a 13 year old boy who has developed a crush on the school bully, Rodeo. The problem is, Rodeo may or may not be gay. Logan thinks there’s something between them and Rodeo does kind of seem into Logan, but we aren’t quite sure. Thus “Wild Tigers I Have Known,” the interesting first feature by writer/director Cam Archer unspools before us. While the film feels a little creepy towards the end, Archer has a really amazing visual style and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

Those who saw Archer’s short film “Bobbycrush” are aware of the way he uses a pastiche style of filmmaking. Archer uses stock footage of bugs and animals along with dark, sultry colors and scenes where what a character is thinking are spelled out for you…literally. Maybe pastiche isn’t best word, it’s sort of a collage…or both. Either way, it’s pretty interesting stuff. By using a video camera to zoom in on images on a TV screen, Archer brings out complex texture on-screen and it’s really cool.

Logan’s journey in “Wild Tigers I have Known” is one that’s common to most everyone. It’s about falling in love for the first time and feeling awkward. You aren’t sure how to proceed. Does he/she like me? Should you ask them out? For Logan it’s more complex due to his sexual identity and that’s where things got dicey for me. Not because of the sexuality, but more because of the ways Logan tries to get Rodeo’s attention.

I also have to say I wasn’t fond of the way Logan, a pixie-ish young boy, becomes fetishised in the film. I think that Logan is playing a younger version of Cam Archer and that this story is a highly personal one. However, trotting a half clothed young boy around or showing him cross dressing or masturbating just feels kind of gross. Still, “Wild Tigers I Have Known” is a complex film and I enjoyed it. Archer proves that he has a unique way of storytelling through the medium of film.

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