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Tears of the Black Tiger

By Martin L. Johnson | Posted 7/9/2008

Action, Comedy, Foreign, Romance, Western

The eye-popping visuals and gentle genre mergers of westerns and melodramas makes Thai director Wisit Sasanatieng's 2000 Tears of the Black Tiger a welcome treat. Seua Dum (Chartchai Ngamsan) is a poor peasant child when he falls in love with Rumpoey (Stella Malucchi), who is from an upper-class family. Like many young couples in period pieces, they vow to stay true to each other, but time passes, and they grow apart. Ten years later, Dum re-emerges, this time as the Black Tiger, a Lone Ranger-style outlaw who rides a horse but carries automatic weapons. Tears' allegiances are legion--you can find traces of everything from Sam Peckinpah to Jean-Luc Godard to old Thai B-movies--but, thankfully, it doesn't privilege a coherent plot or sincere acting over reveling in its inventiveness. In this way, Tears is able to make fun of East and South Asian cinema without forgetting the sincerity that lies at the core of many of these movies.

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