Online catalogue / Ascan Breuer :

Riding my Tiger
Riding my Tiger
AT / ID / 2014
40 min.

The filmmaker Ascan Breuer searches for the spirit of a tiger said to have haunted the house of his ancestors on Java. Locating this spirit is no easy matter, as it must be summoned in a respectful manner. A number of stories have grown up about it, personified as the family´s grandfather, as the ghost of an old man who resides in the garden and finishes off thieves and poor craftsmen. It also recalls the resistance against Dutch colonialism and the conflicts that played out during the Cold War.
This search combines an autobiographical narrative thread involving the history of the filmmaker´s family and a historical narrative about migration that spans the globe. But before you know it, the spirit materializes, observes the filmmaker, energizes the story´s images, and affects the present. In the form of a shadow it flits through the garden and comments on the complex connections between past and present as a figure in a shadow theater.
Ascan Breuer is the protagonist, director and writer of Riding My Tiger. He and cameraman Victor Jaschke, the Documentary Laboratory duo, tell the story of Breuer´s Javanese-Chinese family and give it a universal character. At the same time they make light of the search for identity, in truth an arrogant form of intrusion, which has its own history in the genre of ethnographic documentary film. Breuer is less interested in working with the documentary material than a traditional style of mythical storytelling, producing what he terms “magical documentary film,” inspired by the literary genre of magical realism. The result is a hybrid, an improvised aesthetic. This casts the filmmaker´s visible figure in a dubious light, though as a film project it caricatures the cultural conflict with the aid of cultural means: wayang, Javanese shadow-puppet theater, a performance art going back thousands of years old that anticipated cinema´s technical apparatus. Together with Tardjono Wignyopranoto, a dalang — the wayang´s master of ceremonies — Breuer reinterprets this art form for cinema.

(Marie-Hélène Gutberlet)

Translation: Steve Wilder

A film by:
- Ascan Breuer

- Documentary

original language:
- Various

Available Prints:
- DCP 2K
- DCP 2K

price: 160 EUR


rental conditions

more on Austrian Independent Film & Video Database:
- Credits
- Festival placements
- Texte und Bilder
- Biographie: Ascan Breuer