“Wild and imaginatively unfettered ... It's a mysterious object from a distant galaxy, a sensational work that's like nothing you've seen before ... It will make you rub your eyes in disbelief and scream with confused delight, not just at the crisp, uncanny beauty with which it portrays the changing landscapes of Thailand, but at its ability to mine deep seams of folkloric myth in order to create a gripping work of art cinema rich with the logic and queer majesty of medieval dream poetry.” Sukhdev Sandhu, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH (UK)
“A remarkable experiment in vision and narrative ... The final sequence, semi-dark and all but silent, recalls APOCALYPSE NOW, but with a dark and hallucinatory twist. A beautiful and strange film.” Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN (UK)
“It is hard to imagine a filmmaker more idiosyncratic than Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the Thai director whose second feature TROPICAL MALADY is the great curiosity of this Cannes festival. It is a movie that reveals a great deal about its viewers. For every person you meet who fell into deep slumber before the end of the first hour, you find another who was utterly hypnotized by its languid rhythms and its haunting lyricism.”
“A semi-mythic second act with the characters changing shape, almost literally, in a jungle-set fable sequence as beautiful and haunting as anything in APOCALYPSE NOW. The climactic visual masterstroke may be the most inspired single moment in Cannes viewing this year. Give it a Golden Palmetto.” Nigel Andrews, FINANCIAL TIMES (UK)

Tropical Malady / Sud Pralad

118 mins / 35mm, 1,85:1, Dolby SRD / Colour
Thailand / France / Germany / Italy 2004

Director / Writer: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Cast: Sakda Kaewbuadee, Banlop Lomnoi, Siriwej Jareornchon, Udom Promma, Saritpong Boonyadison, Arna Rattapan, Donruedee Chana, Huay Deesom
Camera: Vichit Thanapanich, Jarin Pengpanich, Jean Louis Vialard
Editor / Post Production Supervisor: Lee Chatametikool
Art Director: Akekarat Homlaor
Sound Design: Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr
Assistant Director: Suchada Sirithanawuddhi
Prop Master: Nitipong Thinthupthai
Location Manager / Continuity: Manita Niyomprasit
Accounting: Parichart Puaree
Production Manager: Pairin Namthip
Producers: Charles de Meaux, Marco Müller, Piboon Damrongchaiyatham, Christoph Thoke, Axel Moebius, Pantham Thongsang
Production: Kick the Machine Films, Bangkok; Anna Sanders Films, Paris; TIFA, Bangkok; Thoke + Moebius Film, Berlin/Frankfurt am Main; Downtown Pictures, Bologna. With the participation of Fonds Sud Cinéma; Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication; CNC; Ministère des Affaires Etrangères

Premiered at the Cannes Film Festival (Competition), 12–23 May 2004, where it was awarded Le Prix du Jury.

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Something magical is in the air. Times are happy and love is uncomplicated for young soldier Keng and country boy Tong. Pleasant evenings with Tong's family, song-filled nights in town... Then life is disrupted by a disappearance. And some kind of wild beast has been slaughtering cows. Local legends say a human can somehow be transformed into another creature... Then begins a tale of a soldier who goes alone into the heart of the jungle, where myth is often real.

I believe we all have this malady. We become attached to certain things, especially to the beauty of our own species. I presented similar ideas in BLISSFULLY YOURS. But this time it seems like this attachment has escalated to the point of being a malady. We are at one point in life suffocated by beautiful memories of our loved ones. The lovers in TROPICAL MALADY become suffocated by their love because it is so right, so natural.


Like in my previous film, I shot TROPICAL MALADY in the jungles of northeastern Thailand. The jungle is used as one of the main characters. I wanted to revisit the same place and see it differently. When I am in the jungle, I see the vast arena of life. It's a very different life with different rules. I don't think I'll ever truly understand the animal world. But I borrow their landscapes to present the film's "malady" and suffocating world that is somehow not human either.


My sound man went into the jungle at night and brought back incredible sounds. He encountered a bear, a herd of elephants. But I couldn't use all of the sounds. Otherwise the film would have become a showcase of sound effects. I just wanted to give the audience a feel for the special sounds of the jungle without being too conscious about how peculiar they are.


Even though the story is presented in a linear structure, TROPICAL MALADY has two distinct stories that represent two very different worlds. However, these two territories are linked by characters that the audience can interpret as the same or not. What's essential are the memories. Memories from the first part validate the second part. Just as the second part validates the first. Neither exists wholly without the other.


My films are an extension of my memories. I even try to include the memories of making the films themselves into my films. I try to capture what I have experienced. While shooting, I also try to capture some of the awkward moments the actors feel in front of the camera. For example, the way the actor who plays the soldier looks at the camera during the opening credits. I sometimes even put pressure on the actors to get the result I want.

“A surprising little film ... Marks a real career advance for the writer-director ... He can be counted as one of 2004 Cannes' major discoveries ...” Michael Wilmington, CHICAGO TRIBUNE (US)
“A Palm, 4 out of 4 stars ...” Jean-Michel Frodon, CAHIERS DU CINEMA (France)
“The best film in Cannes ... Weerasethakul is a director to watch ...” Manuel Yanez, MIRADES DE CINE.COM (Spain)
“Enter this maestro's jungle and lose yourself in the MULHOLLAND DRIVE of forests where every identity is ghostly.” Enrico Ghezzi, L'UNITA (Italy)

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Special Jury Prize, Singapore International Film Festival, Singapore, 2005.
Best Film and Special Jury Prize, The 20th International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Turin, 2005
L’Age d’or Prize, Cine-decouvertes, Belgium 2004
Grand Prize, Tokyo Filmex, Tokyo, 2004
Prix du Jury, Cannes Film Festival, France, 2004

Critics Award, São Paulo International Film Festival, Brazil, 2004
Special Jury Prize, Indianapolis International Film Festival, USA, 2005

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