São Paulo, in a dystopian future not so very far from the present. A virus is circulating, one that mainly attacks the brain and the ability to remember. A state that has forgotten a past marked by colonialism and dictatorship desperately awaits some indeterminate “Golden Phase.” Three young queer people drift through a city bled dry by the pandemic and rampant capitalism, remembering each another’s late lovers, sharing their experiences with HIV, getting makeup tips for masked faces and ultimately coming together with others forgotten by society for an antique revue in the salon of a singer named Mirta.
“Comedy is the tragedy that happens to someone else” says a doctor in the film, but this is a queer comedy without tragedy. In this semi-magical realist camp entertaining yet highly political story, three queer characters (playing themselves) explore the big cosmos of São Paulo, encountering different lives and timelines in out-of-this-world manners. Sharply executed by Gustavo Vinagre and his real-life queer Brazilian personalities, Três tigres tristes is a tale of big big queer in a big big world, exploring health and illness in times of COVID-19 and HIV, and diving into the meaning of true friendships.