Film Openings

Week of March 29, 2007

Tears of the Black Tiger. (Not Rated) Nothing is too crazed, corny, or freakishly florid for writer-director Wisit Sasanatieng's debut. Together with cinematographer Nattawut Kittikhun, Sasanatieng dyed his images through digital post-production, pushing colors to impossible hues of eccentric radiance. Electrifying from frame one, the story opens with a blast of nuclear fuchsia in the shape of Rumpoey (Stella Malucchi), a well-to-do belle who awaits her bad-boy lover (Chartchai Ngamsan as Seua Dum) on a pagoda swamped in turquoise lily pads — a Monet by Warhol. Staged against garishly artificial backdrops and expressionistic weather, full of silly talk and sillier mustaches, the film diagrams the tragic love triangle between Rumpoey, unhappily betrothed to a police captain (Arawat Ruangvuth), and Dum, her girlhood crush. The trajectory of these ill-starred lovers is narrated in flashback, as is the backstory of how Dum became the bandit "Black Tiger," complete with slo-mo Peckinpah massacres and symphonic Morriconean freakouts. One wit has dubbed the movie a "pad thai western." Obsolete by design, this singular stunt and shock to the cinematic system is of and beyond its own time. (Nathan Lee) TV

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