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Tears of the Black Tiger

a film by Wisit Sasanatieng

Seven years from festival circuit to US theatres, this candy-coloured confectionary ode to the golden age of Thai cinema is nothing shy of a kaleidoscopic chromaticism of brilliantly pasteled tableaux. Now I really know nothing of the golden age of Thai cinema, which probbaly puts me in the same proverbial boat as just about every other western film critic out there, but from what I have read on the subject, Sasanatieng's latest is indeed a true labour of love. Probably not unlike the cinematic stylings of Quentin Tarantino, where his love and ardor for both the highs and lows of American and Asian cinema alike, Sasanatieng too plays the homage card to near ridiculous, yet glaringly enjoyable heights.

But not to worry faithful readers, for one certainly needs no primer in Thai cinema in order to be bowled over by the visual eye-candy and blatantly absurd melodrama that is Tears of the Black Tiger. Wasted in limbo for close to seven long years (thanks Miramax!) finally out of its proverbial closet, this film eschews everthing that a potential cult classic should and devours everything else in sight as if it were a Powdered, flowered, and confettied Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied Pac-Man gobbling away at the ghosts of cinema past. Bright and brilliant, at least on a visual plane, and camp-obsessed on every other plane, this film surely belongs in a realm that also includes the likes of House of Flying Daggers, Kill Bill and Far From Heaven. Perhaps not as heavy but certainly just as heady. [01/08/07]

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