Tropical Malady View large image
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Film Details

Directed by: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Produced: 2004

Countries & Regions: France, Germany, Thailand

DVD Details

Certificate: 12

Length: 114 mins

Format: DVD

Released: 11 August 2008

Cat No: SECONDRUN034

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Tropical Malady

Cast: Sakda Kaewbuadee , Banlop Lomnoi , Huai Dessom , Sirivech Jareonchon , Udom Promma

DVD
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Mysterious blend of the real and the supernatural from acclaimed Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Like his recent work ’Syndromes... Read More

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Mysterious blend of the real and the supernatural from acclaimed Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Like his recent work ’Syndromes and a Century’ (2006), this is a film divided into two clear halves. The first part tells of the unfolding romance between Keng (Banlop Lomnoi), a soldier, and Tong (Sakda Kaewbuadee), a bashful country boy. In the second half the two men are recast as characters in a retelling of an old Thai folk fable that involves impenetrable jungle and a shape-shifting ghost. The film was awarded the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004.

Any director who makes a film that switches scenario without explanation half way through and guest stars a talking monkey has some chutzpah, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, arguably the most exciting director at work today, has already garnered a reputation for audacity (his masterly Syndromes and a Century was released on DVD last month). In Tropical Malady, the first half deals with the gradual romance between a male soldier and a country boy in the Thai jungle. In a haunting, underplayed interlude the boy is spirited away. In the second half the soldier is on the trail of an apparently shape-shifting entity which may or may not be his departed lover. The plot sounds far-fetched, but Apichatpong makes it work incredibly well, conveying the sensuality and mystique of the jungle. A shot of a tree lit up by fireflies is astonishing, as is the hypnotic final encounter between the hero and a tiger. Film critic Peter Bradshaw wrote that “it may turn out to be a masterpiece or just barking mad”. A barking mad masterpiece just about sums it up.

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