Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and an Official Selection of the New York Film Festival, Tropical Malady is a lyrical and mysterious film by maverick Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Blissfully Yours, Syndromes and a Century), one of the most prominent young directors of the Thai New Wave. Tropical Malady chronicles the mystical love affair between a young soldier and the country boy he seduces, soon to be disrupted by the boy’s sudden disappearance. Local legends claim the boy was transformed into a mythic wild beast, and the soldier journeys alone into the heart of the Thai jungle in search of him.
Apichatpong “Joe” Weerasethakul (Thai: อภิชาติพงศ์ วีระเศรษฐกุล; born July 16, 1970) is a Thai independent film director, screenwriter, and film producer. His feature films include Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, winner of the prestigious 2010 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or prize; Tropical Malady, which won a jury prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival; Blissfully Yours, which won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard program at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival; and Syndromes and a Century, which premiered at the 63rd Venice Film Festival and was the first Thai film to be entered in competition there.
Working outside the strict confines of the Thai film studio system, Weerasethakul has directed several features and dozens of short films. Themes reflected in his films (frequently discussed in interviews) include dreams, nature, sexuality (including his own homosexuality), and Western perceptions of Thailand and Asia, and his films… read more
I assume Weersethakul's harmonious tenderness seems radical even in his native Thailand, but especially in the conflict-driven West. People don't argue or fight very much in this film, but they remain fascinating. This film recalls the beauty of old Hollywood, or Ozu, while linking the discovery of cinema to a shy discovery of sexuality. The movies have "become" our nature, and this is the very essence of pop art.
my housemate summarised this very aptly: how the tiger becomes the hunted. a very convincing story of getting trapped in the feeling one thinks s/he is in control of. a delight of absorbing and atmospheric cinematography. the humour and diversity of the everyday life and the frightening, uncanny metaphoric tale of intense feelings and emotions: perfect juxaposition that makes the impact of the two pasrts oh so strong
It’s taken some viewings to realise the dichotomy of Tropical Malady: the warmth of its first half’s urban portrait - fleeting connections; quotidian, like Tsai, or Ozu - and its second: descent into naturalist euphoria, dialogue-free, of man finding his bestiality. Intact is the juxtaposition of old and new: folklore tale appended with game show anecdote, singing deity statue as makeshift shrine in ancient cave, relaxed social norms. A snug canonical entry, between its heady predecessor, Syndromes’ cities and Boonmee’s myth; rich, plentiful bounty.
"My sense is that Joe and his films bring out the best in people. And that his swift rise to prominence, to the upper ranks of
Encore un film dont il va être difficile pour moi d’en émettre un avis et d’y associer une note vu qu’il m’a totalement laissé indifférent tout en reconnaissant en lui des qualités. Premier bémol… read review
Tropical Malady comes pretty close to being a masterpiece of Asian cinema, but it falls short due to a thin narrative scraped over 2 hours of occasional brilliance. Let me make myself clear, Malady… read review
One film. One bifurcated structure. Two actors, two roles each. Reality vs Mythology, Mythology vs Reality. While seemingly vastly different, both storylines essentially revolve around love, a chase… read review