Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
From zombie mutants to psychological terrors, click here to check out SWITCH's reviews from this year's Fantastic Film Festival!x
review, Malila: The Farewell Flower, Malila:, The, Farewell, Flower, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Sukollawat Kanarot, Anuchyd Sapanphong, Sumret Muengput, Anucha Boonyawatana

MALILA: THE FAREWELL FLOWER

★★

CONTEMPLATING LOVE AND LOSS

MELBOURNE QUEER FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
9th March 2019

When is a love story not a love story? While it’s a loaded question, it’s one I was left pondering after watching ‘Malila: The Farewell Flower’. A queer Thai film, this one stands out by offering something more than romance - but how effective is it in doing so?

Shane (Sukollawat Kanarot, ‘The Teacher's Diary’) runs a farm in rural Thailand. When an old friend and lover, Pich (Anuchit Sapanpong) returns to town, the two gradually rekindle their relationship - however, there are a few unusual complications. Pich is suffering from cancer, and Shane has sworn to become a monk for a period. As they both learn to live with and without each other, they also discover how to deal with loss in different ways.

This is a thoughtful, contemplative film, dwelling on moments instead of rushing through its story. The meditative approach concerns itself with intimate details; shots will linger extensively on small things like one hand slowly moving towards another’s. While the love story does contain passionate instances, it’s more concerned with the sensual and emotional elements of the relationship, and the time we spend with Shane and Pich is clearly one of deep affection.

'MALILA: THE FAREWELL FLOWER' TRAILER

It’s also a credit to writer and director Anucha Boonyawatana (‘The Blue Hour’) and cinematographer Chaiyapruek Chalermpornpanich that the film looks as beautiful as it does. Even in the harshest of conditions - Thailand’s dry season, torrential downpours, some more physically gruelling scenes - each frame is a work of art. Dialog is sparse, leaving the powerful imagery to unveil much of the story. There’s a sense of style that’s so often missing from Thai productions (typically due to budgetary restraints), yet here it’s undoubtedly the film’s biggest drawcard.

The story is also unapologetically Thai - not a country to shy away from sexuality of any nature, the film instead deals with other issues that face Thailand, including poverty, the immense contrast between Bangkok and the rural villages, the debate between Western and traditional medicine, and Shane’s heavy reliance on alcohol, a systemic problem in Thailand. These are the elements which give the story its depth.

Even in the harshest of conditions - Thailand’s dry season, torrential downpours, some more gruesome scenes - each frame is a work of art. It’s undoubtedly the film’s biggest drawcard.

Unfortunately, it’s not these issues, nor the love story, which take centre stage in this film. Shane’s mission to become a monk - which he is told will also help Pich’s cancer - takes what is already a reflective tale and makes it even slower. While it’s an interesting insight into an experience practically every Thai male goes through, far too much of the film is spent on it - roughly half of its 90 minute runtime, in fact. That’s paired with the ambiguous nature of the storytelling; at first, this is a blessing, and we’re left to learn much about the characters through their interactions, but there are also time jumps which leave gaping questions for the audience.

This isn’t a love story; it tries to be so much more, but ultimately does fail. Boonyawatana’s script is largely at fault here, with massive pacing issues and a surreal ending that doesn’t necessarily gel well with the rest of the film’s style. Nonetheless, this is an interesting glimpse at rural Thai culture, and a genuine attempt to show a love that’s far from superficial.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RUN TIME: 1h 34m
CAST: Sukollawat Kanarot
Anuchyd Sapanphong
Sumret Muengput
DIRECTOR: Anucha Boonyawatana
WRITERS: Waasuthep Ketpetch
Anucha Boonyawatana
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears - A global adventure for the legendary lady detective
TRENDINGWIN MISS FISHER AND THE CRYPT OF TEARSA global adventure for the legendary lady detective
The Wishmas Tree - A magical experience for the whole family
TRENDINGWIN THE WISHMAS TREEA magical experience for the whole family
In My Blood It Runs - An eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
TRENDINGIN MY BLOOD IT RUNSAn eye-opening tale of struggling Indigenous youth
The Professor and the Madman - Mel Gibson's dictionary origin story a dry read
TRENDINGTHE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMANMel Gibson's dictionary origin story a dry read
Standing Up For Sunny - A comedy without the comedy but very sweet
TRENDINGSTANDING UP FOR SUNNYA comedy without the comedy but very sweet
A Guide to Second Date Sex - A quintessentially awkward British romantic comedy
TRENDINGA GUIDE TO SECOND DATE SEXA quintessentially awkward British romantic comedy
Children of the Sea - Sunk by a soggy script
TRENDINGCHILDREN OF THE SEASunk by a soggy script
Parasite - A bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
TRENDINGPARASITEA bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
Happy Ending - An extra-wrinkly sex comedy
TRENDINGHAPPY ENDINGAn extra-wrinkly sex comedy
Leftover Women - Feminists beware, this one's a blood boiler
TRENDINGLEFTOVER WOMENFeminists beware, this one's a blood boiler
Blue - A thought-provoking underwater journey
TRENDINGBLUEA thought-provoking underwater journey
NT Live: Present Laughter - Andrew Scott astounds in this thrilling Noel Coward classic
TRENDINGNT LIVE: PRESENT LAUGHTERAndrew Scott astounds in this thrilling Noel Coward classic
And Then We Danced - A passionate and remarkable classic in the making
TRENDINGAND THEN WE DANCEDA passionate and remarkable classic in the making
School's Out - The children know too much
TRENDINGSCHOOL'S OUTThe children know too much
Fantastic Film Festival Australia 2020 - The reviews
TRENDINGFANTASTIC FILM FESTIVAL AUSTRALIA 2020The reviews
The Golden Glove - Repellent and pointless
TRENDINGTHE GOLDEN GLOVERepellent and pointless
Midsommar - Ari Aster brings the gore but lacks the emotion
TRENDINGMIDSOMMARAri Aster brings the gore but lacks the emotion
Away - A minimalist and evocative animated adventure
TRENDINGAWAYA minimalist and evocative animated adventure
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us