June 12, 2007

Tropical Malady (Weerasethakul, 2004)

Weerasethakul’s spellbinding magical realist fable, with its bipartite structure, counterposes a contemporary tale with a traditional Thai folktale. A love story both gentle and savage, Tropical Malady has an elusive, beautiful grace about it that makes it simultaneously difficult to grasp and tantalizing to experience. Weerasethakul renders his film with a pensive, quietly observant eye, belying the fact that there is much going on beneath the surface (the intersection of diverse forms of storytelling is particularly interesting), though part of me is inclined to believe he would prefer this work to be felt rather than analyzed.


Eugene D. Gibson said...

Excellent reviews suggest you check out a Brazilian movie call"City of God" (Cidade de Deus)2002, and give us a review would love to hear your opinion

R.A. Naing said...

Thanks for the kind words! I caught "City of God" in its initial theatrical run back in 2003, here in the States, but I haven't revisited it completely (only bits and pieces on DVD) since. I really should though. I consider it one of the masterpieces of the new millennium.

If you liked it, I would suggest another Brazilian film called "Lower City (2005). It isn't as ambitious as "City of God," but it's similarly evocative, and there is a palpable sexuality and aggressive emotionality to the film that is really striking.