On Tropical Malady and the Beast in the Jungle


It has been two days since we saw Tropical Malady, the 2004 film by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and still we are haunted by his depiction of the small joys and disappointments of a new love giving way to sickness and obsession; the mythological and alchemical transformation that takes place as we stalk our love, and in turn are stalked; the sense of crawling through the fetid depths of the jungle before suddenly arriving at a clearing to catch a brief glimpse of a billowing tree on the plain, iridescent as a jellyfish in the night ocean, illuminated as if from within. Not since reading Henry James’ 1902 novella “The Beast in the Jungle” have we experienced such validation of the universal longing that we know will always reside in our ruined soul.


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