Thank you Cinéma.
Absolutely sir. Hope you enjoy.
Incredible movie. I’m still processing it, but one I thing I do know is that I haven’t been that emotionally effected by a movie in a long, long time.
I’ve heard criticism that the second half is slow, but I was simply riveted. Talk about powerful film making.
It’s interesting to read fans’ takes on this film as compared to Syndromes. I think we can all agree that they’re both fantastic films. For me, there might be more to talk about or think about or analyze in Syndromes. Also, perhaps the two halves are better integrated. There are many small moments and riffs that echo in both parts. However, Tropical Malady hit me more on an emotional level. Maybe I couldn’t articulate why I find it stronger, but I just did. Two great films for two different parts of the brain, maybe.
If anyone’s interested, check out my review of Weerasethakul’s phenomenal A Letter To Uncle Boonmee.
Anyone know how I can see the last five minutes of the film? The library copy I borrowed was damaged, preventing me from seeing the last five minutes of the film!
I do think it’s an interesting picture up to that point, but I want to see the last five minutes before I comment.
Watch it here on the site. It’s the best $3 you’ll ever spend.
In the event of Apichatpong Weerasethakul winning the 2010 Palme d’Or for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives…
Time to bump this thread about another beautiful film by the Thai auteur so that those who are now curious about this somewhat unknown director may have a fascinating entry to his work.
Tropical Malady is, i think, his first masterpiece. And i can hardly wait to see his new film.
I am very happy to see Joe getting some much-deserved praise.
Hopefully this will bring more attention to his exemplar works of art, & all Thai cinema.
I think his first masterpiece is Mysterious Object at Noon. Talk about a brilliant film. I might think Syndromes is better (or rather, I might like it more), but there’s no doubt in my mind that Mysterious Object at Noon is a great film.
One question to anyone who has the American DVD of Tropical Malady? Are the subtitles off? Like, in the film, do the start early in the beginning of the movie before words are spoken, and do they end up, at the conclusion, starting a long time after the words were already spoken? I was wondering if this was an issue with the entire release of the DVD, which is very annoying, to say the least. :(
I have a copy and will be watching this again—as well as seeing the last five minutes for the first time! Hope to come back and discuss it here soon.
Just saw this in its entirety last night, and I have a lot to process. This is one of those films that I would say I interested me even though I didn’t fully understand it.
In the version I have, I don’t know if the subtitles start at the wrong time or not, but it’s often hard to know who said what. Definitely frustrating, since the film is not the easiest to understand. I think I have to think most about the first half of the film. I’m especially unclear about the purpose of some of the scenes.
Col Dax said, “That fear of rejection, that feeling of not knowing if someone likes you as much as you like them is so profound in the film, and something I immediately related to.”
Hmm, I’ll have to think about that because that’s not what I thought about the first half of the film. Actually, I’m not sure what to make of the first half of the film. I’m not sure about the reasons many of the scenes are in the film. Here are some scenes I’m going to have think about:
—The scene where the two main characters go into a cave with the temple. A lady just appears and takes her down and then proceeds to lead them to a narrow passage, asking them if they want to go through it, but also warning that it is dangerous. The military guy refuses and goes back;
—The scene with the singer at the restaurant. The “country guy” goes up and sings with her;
—The scenes with people playing soccer and, later, the people doing aerobics. These scenes echo scenes in Syndromes and a Century;
—The story about the monk and the greedy farmers. How does this relate to the rest of the film
-The scenes that involve the “country guy’s” dog-i.e. they find the dog on the road; the country guy lying with his dog in his hammock; the scenes at the Vet’s.
Just saw this for the first time tonight. I don’t think it was really explained, but were the first part and second part connected or separate stories? The way I’m interpreting the film off the first viewing is that they’re connected. I haven’t been able to find much anywhere discussing the plot, but this is the kind of movie I really want to have some insight on, hear other peoples take.
I definitely think the two sections are connected. I can barely remember what happened in that part of the film, though. What is your understanding of the film so far?
Well, naturally they are connected as the characters in the second half are Keng and Tong, right?
I think the second half is a reimagining of their romance and a metaphor for lust. Think of the quote at the beginning of the film (paraphrasing): “Man is a beast, humanity is teaching him tricks that are alien to his nature.” (I’m butchering it, I know, but I can’t find a source anywhere).
There is a moment in the first half when Tong becomes very animalistic— the last time Keng sees him as a “human,” I believe, is when he’s licking his hand much more like a dog or a tiger than a normal, human courtship. We see Keng riding home with a smile on his face after this, what you could call a mini consummation of their affair, as Tong has been cagey and coy until this point. Keng thinks he has ‘won,’ but shortly after is when Tong disappears and becomes the tiger.
What Jazz said a few posts up about the fear of rejection resonated throughout the film to me, too. Keng is very vulnerable even from the beginning, a little pathetic, even— he’s clearly the one ‘chasing’ Tong, but romance is the one area where you become the ‘prey’ if you’re the one pursuing the relationship. By showing his emotions, Keng gives Tong power and you can see little glints of perhaps innocent menace in his eyes even before he transforms. I think the second half of the movie is an allegory for the power you give someone by exposing your desire. The monkey tells Keng, ‘You can either kill him to bring him back to our world, or let him devour you and enter his,’ and I think some romances in their early stages can seem this emotionally violent, like you have to gruesomely sacrifice a part of yourself to move the relationship forward.
I wouldn’t call it a “metaphot for lust,” exactly. I beleive Joe regards humans and animals as one and the same. The man-morphing-into-ape in “Uncle Boonmee” is an aspect of what I’m talking about — as is Uncle Boonmee’s memories of past lives as animals.
By metaphor for lust, I mean that in the second half of the film, Tong and Keng have a hunter/prey relationship rather than a sexual one. The hunter/prey set-up is representative of courtship, because as far as I could tell, the tiger wanted to eat Keng, not have sex with him.
Thanks for the post those are some interesting observations.
I especially liked, “…but romance is the one area where you become the ‘prey’ if you’re the one pursuing the relationship.”
The hunter/prey set-up is representative of courtship,…
_ …because as far as I could tell, the tiger wanted to eat Keng, not have sex with him._
Of course, this devouring could be a metaphor for love/sex, too.
I’d be interested in hearing any thoughts you might have about the comments/question I had in my second to the last post.
(Oh, and btw, the comment about rejection came from Col. Dax, aka Takamine.)
I wouldn’t call it a “metaphot for lust,” exactly. I beleive Joe regards humans and animals as one and the same.
Right, but as Savannah pointed out, there’s that opening quote about how people have to control their animal desires.