Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Running time: 125 minutes
A strange and beautiful movie, Tropical Malady (2004) is directed by cult Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and divided into two distinct but thematically connected parts. In the first part, we meet Keng (Banlop Lomnoi), a soldier who has been assigned duty outside a small town in Northern Thailand. While on duty, Keng meets a young, country boy named Tong and falls deeply in love with him. Although friendly to Keng, Tong at first remains distant. During this time, a number of animals and villagers have fallen victim to a mysterious predator – believed to be either a tiger, or shaman tiger-spirit and, after an audaciously long period of black, the movie begins again with its second half, where we encounter Keng on the hunt for this dangerous tiger-spirit, trekking him through the jungle. The director has said that the two parts are “like poles of a magnet that pull each other together”, the binary ends of a beguiling story about love and power. At times, unclear who is hunting whom, the second part is filmed in almost complete silence, apart from the ambient sounds of the jungle, which serves to emphasize the inevitable isolation and loss of self that comes with deep, romantic love. A hallucinatory, fractured movie that deliberately defies any easy explanation, it uses only amateur actors in roles which convincingly challenge the conventions of narrative film. Audacious and poetic, it's Weerasethakul's best yet and won him the Jury Prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.
Reservation is not necessary, but places are limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.