Apichatpong’s third feature, a haunting love story suffused with an air of myth, has endured as one of his signature films, and for good reason: winner of a Special Jury Prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, the boldly bifurcated Tropical Malady is an astonishing work that is as sensual as it is mystical. The film’s narrative concerns a tender romance between a young Thai soldier and a boy from the country; when the boy mysteriously disappears—possibly because he has transformed into a tiger, per local hearsay—the soldier sets off into the jungle in search of his lover, inaugurating an intoxicating, sublime metaphysical journey to the very heart of desire itself. 35mm collection print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. An NYFF42 Main Slate selection.
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