Tropical Malady

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Tropical Malady
The Thai film poster
Directed byApichatpong Weerasethakul
Produced byCharles de Meaux
Axel Moebius
Written byApichatpong Weerasethakul
StarringSakda Kaewbuadee
Banlop Lomnoi
Sirivech Jareonchon
Udom Promma
Huai Deesom
CinematographyJarin Pengpanitch
Vichit Tanapanitch
Jean-Louis Vialard
Edited byLee Chatametikool
Jacopo Quadri (Editing Advisor)
Distributed byTIFA
Kick the Machine
Anna Sanders Films
Release date
  • 17 May 2004 (2004-05-17) (Cannes)
  • 24 June 2004 (2004-06-24) (Thailand)
Running time
125 minutes

Tropical Malady (RTGS: Satpralat; lit. "monster") is a 2004 Thai romantic psychological drama film written and directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. The film has a bifurcated structure; it is separated into two segments – the first is a romance between two men, and the second a mysterious tale about a soldier lost in the woods, bedeviled by the spirit of a shaman.

It won the Jury Prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, and was the first Thai film to be in the main competition at Cannes.[1] It is also the first Thai film to win a prize at one of the "Big Three" film festivals.[2][3]


Keng (played by Banlop Lomnoi), is a soldier assigned to a post in a small city in rural Thailand. The troops' main duties, it seems, is to investigate the mysterious slaying of cattle at local farms. While in the field one day, Keng meets Tong (played by Sakda Kaewbuadee). Later, Keng sees Tong riding in a truck in town. The two men have made a connection and embark on a romance, taking trips in the countryside.

Then one night, the country boy wanders off into the dark. The film's narrative abruptly shifts to a different story, about a soldier (played by Lomnoi again) sent alone into the woods to find a lost villager. In the woods, the soldier encounters the spirit of a tiger shaman (played by Kaewbuadee again), who taunts and bedevils the soldier, causing him to run through the woods and become lost and isolated himself.


  • Banlop Lomnoi as Keng
  • Sakda Kaewbuadee as Tong
  • Huai Dessom
  • Sirivech Jareonchon
  • Udom Promma


In Thailand, the film screened for just 10 days at the Siam Theatre.[4]


At the press screening at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, several audience members left before the film was over and some of those who stayed until the end booed it. The film received generally poor reviews from such industry journals as Variety[5] and The Hollywood Reporter, but then won the Jury Prize from the jury,[6] headed by Quentin Tarantino.[7] Deborah Young of Variety stated in May 2004, it had a "weakly structured story" and "its loosely connected scenes will sorely try the patience of most viewers".[5] Manohla Dargis from The New York Times on Oct 2004 noted it was "unabashedly strange" and this is a "young filmmaker pushing at the limits of cinematic narrative with grace and a certain amount of puckish willfulness".[8] Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian stated "masterpierce, cult classic or just barking mad?", it "makes me want to burst out laughing at its sheer audacity, its eccentricity, its unashamed aspiration to poetry" and it is "sumptuous and scary, and a brilliant adventure in structure and style".[9] S. F. Said from The Telegraph in 2005 noted it was "weird yet utterly beguiling" and "something from another world".[6]

The film been generally met with favorable reviews since then. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 77%, based on 44 reviews, and an average rating of 7.1/10.[10] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 78 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11]

Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine ranked Tropical Malady the third best film of 2005; the aggregation site They Shoot Pictures, Don't They has also found the film to be the ninth most acclaimed cinematic work of the 21st century [12] and in 2016 the work ranked 52nd on an international critics' poll of the greatest films since 2000.[13]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cannes 2004 > In competition > Sud Pradad". Cannes Film Festival. Archived from the original on October 12, 2006. Retrieved January 8, 2007.
  2. ^ Tropical Malady. Author: Charles Taylor. Publisher: Salon. Published: 1 October 2004. Retrieved: 22 May 2014.
  3. ^ Film review: Beauty doesn't clarify 'Malady'. Author: Jeff Vice. Publisher: Published: 16 Sept 2005. Retrieved: 22 May 2014.
  4. ^ Pfaff, Tim (July 9, 2005). "Out of the jungle and onto the big screen -- cult film from Thailand travels to U.S.", San Francisco Chronicle (retrieved August 4, 2006).
  5. ^ a b Young, Deborah (May 18, 2004). "Tropical Malady". Variety. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Said, S. F. (March 4, 2005). "Like nothing you've ever seen". The Telegraph. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  7. ^ Dowd, A. A. (January 22, 2015). "Fahrenheit 9/11 was a call to action that Tarantino and his Cannes jury answered". Film. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  8. ^ Dargis, Manohla (June 29, 2005). "A Riddle of a Romance Stricken by a Different Kind of Love Bug". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  9. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (March 4, 2005). "Tropical Malady". The Guardian. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  10. ^ "Tropical Malady (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  11. ^ "Tropical Malady Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  12. ^ Georgaris, Bill. "21st Century (Full List)". They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  13. ^ "The 21st Century's 100 greatest films". BBC. August 23, 2016. Retrieved January 4, 2017.

External links[edit]