Sud pralad - Tropical Malady (2004) - dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul
A soldier in Thailand falls in love with a country boy. Keng and Tong flirt and romance each other. The first half of the film is a sweet, gentle love story. There's not much substance, but the unique color palette and creative shooting keep the viewer interested.
The second half of the film is a separate story. This time, the soldier hunts for a Shaman who inhabits the body of a tiger. The story lacks the profundity that Weerasethakul seems to think it should have. But, once again, some interesting night shooting is the draw.
The mythology of the Thai Forest Tradition is thus tied into the young romance of the two men. The idea is straightforward enough; there is mysticism in the ordinary. Hence the reverence paid to the religious statue covered in musical Christmas lights.
How well this works is up to you. Personally, I found the movie a bit lacking; part of it were visually interesting, but the second half of the film didn't resonate with me. Maybe the mythology was somewhere between too unfamiliar yet not exotic enough.
Tropical Malady is #982 on the TSPDT 1,000 list I’m blogging through. I’ve now seen 403.