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In drug-war-torn Mexico, Estrella is in a battle against circumstance and time. As she runs from the gang and cartel leader who murdered her mother, the dilemma already appears to have fully surfaced, but darker forces soon come into play. A thin but ominous stream of blood follows Estrella’s every turn, and her mother’s ghostly instructions mix with the rustling plastic that coats her corpse. Equally imaginative, humanizing, joyful, and tragic, this film is a dark fairy tale with a light that burns even more savagely than the darkness of its very real horrors.

Tigers Are Not Afraid screens tonight only at the 44th annual Seattle International Film Festival, which happens through June 10. More recommended SIFF films here; and all SIFF films here.