Tropical Malady (2005)
One of Thailand's leading experimental filmmakers, Apichatpong Weerasethakul directed this ambitious examination of fear and desire. Keng (Banlop Lomnoi) is a soldier who has been assigned duty as a forest ranger in the woodlands of the country. While on duty, he meets a young man named Tong (Sakda Kaewbuadee); Keng becomes deeply infatuated with Tong, but while Tong is friendly with Keng, he is obviously unwilling to respond to his romantic overtures. As Keng deals with his disappointment, he learns that a number of animals and villagers have fallen victim to a vicious predator who may be a tiger or a shape-shifting shaman. Keng gathers his courage and begins tracking the beast, which alternately resembles a jungle cat and his friend Tong. Sud Pralad ( aka Tropical Malady) was screened in competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. … More
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Critic Reviews for Tropical Malady
The film evolves into something deeper, a story about the atavistic wildness within people.
Some fantasy films make the leap from reality to reverie relatively seamlessly, hopscotching between the two states without leaving the audience behind. Tropical Malady is not one of those.
This may be one of the most rapturously original, mysteriously beautiful love stories ever told -- Baboon-language skills optional.
An intriguing emotional and intellectual puzzle that made me feel exhilarated and contemplative.
What initially appears a vague and meandering plot line is actually our introduction into a sort of dream state where nothing is what it seems on the surface.
Camera work in the first half of 'Tropical Malady' appears jumpy and interrupted by confusing cuts and artsy tricks.
Maintains a visual richness, but loses its way with heavy-going forays into mythology and mysticism.
The division of the two halves is pronounced and disruptive ... but the filmmaking is assured and focused, reaching for abstraction and poetry.
A hypnotic head-scratcher that manages to be oddly fascinating and frustratingly tedious at the same time. Eventually, though, tedium wins.
It goes from a love story in the making to the mystical realm of legends where men can be transformed into wild beasts and monkey guides offer sage advice.
It's as if two completely different movies got spliced together in the editing room, or in the projection booth.
A film more textural than narrative, it's for viewers willing to lose themselves in a truly sensual jungle experience.
Apichatpong poetically expresses the transformative quality of love, realizing a kind of intense profundity that simply could not be reached in any other medium.
Weerasethakul's confident composition of sight and sound induces a trance-like state with an elegant suggestion: that all-consuming love is for old souls.
...as rich and dense as thick molten chocolate...and flows just as slowly
Audience Reviews for Tropical Malady
Two different stories in tone and narrative combined in the same film: first a naturalist, bucolic gay romance, then a mysterious, enigmatic tale of spirits in a dense forest. Even if creating an absorbing sensorial atmosphere, the whole feels loosely bound together, allowing of infinite interpretations and thus appearing vague and empty in its core.More
Two handed Thai drama, the first part tells the story of a burgeoning gay male romance and the second uses the main actors in a traditional Thai folk tale. Atmospheric and certainly original but it left me cold.More
[font=Century Gothic]The first half of "Tropical Malady" is about the romance between Keng(Banlop Lomnoi), a former soldier and forest ranger who is now unemployed and another man, Tong(Sakda Kaewbuadee). The second half consists of a soldier(possibly also Keng) hunting a tiger.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]This paradigm shift is similar to the device that David Lynch used in "Lost Highway" and "Mulholland Drive" but with limited success.(It does not really help these movies because it is the equivalent to pulling the carpet out from under the viewer.) And in "Tropical Malady", it has a similar disorienting effect. Maybe if I knew more about Thailand, then I possibly would have liked the movie more.[/font]
Weerasethakul's film is hard to describe by regular terms. There is no story here, at least not the way you are used to seeing it. And there is a lot of patience that you have to have to go through the second part of the film, where the camera is just following the hunter through his long journey into the jungle. But I must say I felt that my patience paid off at the end. I loved the ending (which I won't describe here for I wouldn't like to write a spoiler): so simple, so heart-felt, yet so genius.More
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