Friday, January 11, 2008

Tears of the Black Tiger, for crying out loud

A week or so ago I looked at a round-up of lists of last year's best films, and lamented that I couldn't find any mention of my all-time favorite film, Tears of the Black Tiger, which was finally released last year in the U.S.

However, I have since found a couple of lists that do mention Tears, or Fah Talai Jone, and I'd feel remiss if I let much more time slip by without noting them.

From my old stomping grounds of St. Louis, Missouri (a great city for watching films), Pete Timmerman of Playback lists Tears of the Black Tiger at No. 7 on his Top 10. In a string of three Asian films on a list that is topped by Juno and rounded out with There Will Be Blood, Tears is right below The Host, and just above another Thai film, a little something called Syndromes and a Century by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Of Tears, Timmerman recounts the 7-year-old film's torturous history of being purchased by Miramax and then locked away in a vault until it was sprung by Magnolia.

Granted, this is a film that deserves to be seen on the big screen, but you can't always count on the powers in American film distribution to not be idiots and release a movie in a reasonable amount of time ... There's never been a better argument for importing DVDs. Well, this and the fact that Tiger director Wisit Sasanatieng's follow-up, Citizen Dog, doesn't have a U.S. distributor at all, and is as good or maybe even better.

Kristian Lin of the Fort Worth Weekly lists the "outrageously colored Thai musical western" among her honorable mentions.

Pretty good reception for a film that's seven years old, eh? And the mention of Citizen Dog (available on DVD from Yesasia, by the way) is heartening. I'm anxious to see what's in store with Wisit's upcoming next film, Red Eagle.

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