Archive for the ‘Tropical Malady’ Category

Tropical Malady – review – Film Comment #8

Film Comment #8 – Tropical Malady Apichatpong Weerasethakul 2004


This is the second film from A.W. that I’ve seen, his first being “Syndromes and a Century”, another film that is sectioned into two halves, and is much better as well. The first half of “Tropical Malady” deals with a homosexual relationship between a soldier in the army and a citizen. We follow them to the movies, and also as people enter and exit their normal daily lives. Not much really goes on in the first half, it is more of an examination of a homosexual relationship in a world where no social stigma is attached to it. They co-exist as normal with others around them. There is really no epiphany to the film. We are just witnesses to this.

The second half of the film, unlike Syndromes, has nothing to do with the first half of the film, but is definitely more entertaining. We follow another soldier who is lost in the woods. It is a psychological thriller, much like “The Most Dangerous Game”, in which the soldier is hunting a tiger. The tiger morphs into human form, and back again, as the soldier goes deeper into the jungle. No words are spoken during this segment, until the end. We are only given subtitles that explain this descent into the jungle which represents the descent into the soldiers psyche.

I would have like to see more of a conjunction between the two halves of the film linking them together as A.W. did with his next film “Syndromes and a Century”, which is a much better film. He does have his own stylistic flair though, and I’d say skip this one unless you find yourself becoming a fan of his work.

Grade: C-