Saturday, June 16, 2007
Sud pralad (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004) aka Tropical Malady
Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)
A unique visual and aural cinematic experience unlike anything I've seen before. Tropical Malady is basically split into two parts, each telling the same story in a different manner. The first half is more of a "conventional" love story, although I use that word loosely, as two men, Keng, a soldier, and Tong, a countryboy, become enchanted with one another even though it is hinted at that Tong is interested in women. The second half, although still not unrelated from the first half, is a folklore tale about Tong taking on the form of a mythic shape shifting shaman trapped in the body of a tiger who haunts travelers as they venture through the jungle. The entire second half contains no dialogue at all until the final scenes. It is a relentlessly visceral descent into the inner workings of human desire and the pursuit of love. The lush imagery of the soldier tracking the tiger through the forest is carefully paced as the jungle ambiance infects the soundtrack. The final moments are spellbinding in this unforgettable film.