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TROPICAL MALADY

Director:

118 minutes| Thailand-France-Germany-Italy| 2004| Subtitled| Colour| 35mm


Apichatpong’s ‘memoir of love and darkness,’ winner of the Prix du Jury in Cannes, is divided into two parts. The first is a love story. Serving soldier Keng falls for country boy Tong, but their playful friendship/romance gradually loses its edge of innocence. Tong has a dark side (or is it just that Keng fears he does?) and he eventually slips away into the night. In the second part, played by the same two actors, a soldier ventures into the dense jungle to hunt a shape-shifting man-tiger which has been attacking local cattle but his quest becomes increasingly hallucinatory, and the roles of hunter and hunted become blurred.

The relationship between the two parts is ambiguous. Does the second part continue or contradict the first? Or are the two symbiotically related, each completing the meaning of the other? These are not Marienbad-style intellectual puzzles but questions rooted in the look, the joys and the fears of the characters.

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