Tropical Malady

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Year Released: 2004
Rating: 3.5

It's no surprise that of the people interviewed walking out of the showing at Cannes were both amazed and totally baffled by this (typically) experimental film by Weerasethakul - it brazenly defies interpretation and purposely leaves out clues to its ultimate purpose. The film's two parts are (I think) in reverse order: "Part One" shows a relationship between two men coming to fruition, "Part Two" is about the metaphorical process of searching for and finding "the other" - searching through the "forest" for a soul mate (here, a ghost/tiger), getting rejected (literally, thrown down a hill) and at the end, after much perseverance, coming together on equal terms. Of course, it could really mean anything, and that's what's so lovely and infuriating about it - it's consciously trying not to make sense, and Cyprus' critic-at-large Mr. Panayides is correct in saying it's not a "film" according to the standard definition of what we've come to think a "film" should "try" to do. Then again, neither Mysterious Object at Noon nor Blissfully Yours are "about" anything, and the fact that they aren't "about" anything is precisely the point. Honestly, I'm shocked - *shocked* - that even people take Weerasethakul seriously enough to show his films; perhaps the exoticism of him being from Thailand makes them curious. Either you're up for his coy game playing or you aren't.