09 Jan 06
jeff_v explains our decision:
The saying goes that the less you know about a movie going into it, the better your experience will be. But does the same hold true for coming out of the movie? Many viewers of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s mysterious Tropical Malady, myself included, emerged dazed, unsure of what they’d just seen. What began as a sweet and awkward romance between a furloughed soldier and a rural ice factory worker ended up as spiritual quest in a dark jungle involving a talking monkey and a shape-shifting tiger. The film divided evenly into two distinct halves: one naturalistic and semiconventional, the other surreal and experimental. The extreme differences between the two halves (each even possessing its own opening credits sequence) led some to think Tropical Malady was two separate films. But there are indications that the second story is a retelling of the first, or perhaps a metaphorical continuation, a myth about an identity erased through unconditional acceptance of The Other. This isn’t the space to unpack the meaning of Tropical Malady, rather to appreciate its fearful symmetry and sustained sensuous mood. Apichatpong has created one of the most bold and visionary films of the decade, and also one of the more confounding.