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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

entry arrow2:00 AM | Confounding Fables

Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s สัตว์ประหลาด [Tropical Malady, 2004] divided audiences when it premiered in Cannes more than half a decade ago — and understandably so. It is a confounding experience. The film is the story of two characters (a soldier and a country boy) who inhabit two different worlds and two different storylines in the same film, each one starkly different from the other in narrative and tone — and yet we are asked to regard both halves as organic to each other. And yet one can make the argument for the film’s simplicity. The first half is a simple love story about two men in coy courtship, and the second half is a simple fable about a soldier lost in the forest, placed under a spell by a shape-shifting shaman. And then you, the viewer, read what you can of it. A poetic Rorschach test done in cinematic form, if you ask me. I am not bothered by my confoundment, my logical reach for “What does it all mean?” In its depiction of rural Thai life, in its rumination of a brewing love, in its love affair with fable, in its unspooling of quiet tension in a dark forest tinged with magic, I find enough to be happy about, meaning be damned.

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