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In the countryside of Thailand, a gang of outlaws makes the region unsafe. Among them is the handsome gun hero Dum, who became unwillingly involved in the bandit life. Handsome Dum made a promise to his upper-crust lover Rumpoey: despite the class difference, they will get married. When the moment of reunion arrives, Dum gets involved in a fire fight and cannot possibly reach Rumpoey in time. She is desperate: her father has married her off to a policeman. The taciturn Dum, called the 'Black Tiger' by his co-conspirators, has however not forgotten Rumpoey. He does everything in his power to reach her, but fate gets in the way: his gang leader suspects him of treachery and his blood brother turns into his greatest enemy. Will the two lovers ever meet up? This urgent question propels the melodrama forward, supported by exciting music, spectacular shootouts and heroic duels.Written by
International sales rights to Tears of the Black Tiger were purchased by Fortissimo Films, which marketed a 101-minute "international cut", edited by director Wisit Sasanatieng from the original 110-minute length. The shorter version omits some transitional scenes in order to streamline the pacing of the film. This version was released theatrically in several countries, including France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Among the deleted scenes are those involving the comic relief character, Sergeant Yam, Rumpoey's engagement to Captain Kumjorn and other transitional scenes. Fortissimo sold the US distribution rights to Miramax Films during the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. Miramax then sent word that it wanted to alter the film. Wisit offered the company an even shorter version than the international cut, but the company refused, cutting 30 minutes out of the film resulting a 81 minute cut. "They didn't allow myself to re-cut it at all", Wisit said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "They did it by themselves and then sent the tape. And they changed the ending from tragic to happy. They said that in the time after 9/11, nobody would like to see something sad. Altering films was routine for Miramax, at the time headed by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, who defended their actions by saying the films needed editing to make them marketable to American audiences. Other examples were the Miramax releases of Shaolin Soccer and Hero. The Miramax version was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002. The company then shelved the film, fearing it would not do well in a wider release. This was another routine by the Weinsteins, who delayed releases so they could shift potential money-losing films to future fiscal years and ensure they would receive annual bonuses from Miramax's corporate parent, The Walt Disney Company. As Tears of the Black Tiger languished in the Miramax vaults, its cult film status was heightened and it became a "Holy Grail" for film fans. For viewers in the US, the only way to watch it was to purchase the DVD from overseas importers, however some of those versions of the film had also been heavily edited. In late 2006, Magnolia Pictures acquired the film's distribution rights from Miramax. Magnolia screened the original version of the film in a limited release from January to April 2007 in several US cities. See more »
By everything sacred in this world, I, Mahesuan, swear, with the Buddha as my witness, I'll always be true and loyal to my blood brother, Dom, the Black Tiger who saved my life. If I break this oath, may his gun take my life.
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Now where on earth did this movie come from? Why was there no warning? Shouldn't we have seen it coming somehow? Like PISTOL OPERA, TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER boldly paints itself across the screen in bold bright colours as if to say to the rest of the movie making world "Are you so fresh out of ideas already?". Unlike PO though, TOTBT is not just utterly removed from filmic convention - it's just in utterly the wrong time and place.
The movie is basically a 1950's Hollywood Western/Melodrama... made in 21st Century Thailand (and with tongue firmly in cheek). The clothes, the hairstyles, the sets, the camerawork, the soundtrack, the acting, the script... all spot on for 50's America. The movie has even been bizarrely colourised in a way reminiscent of very early colour film stock, but obviously done digitally and deliberately, with an eye to the exact shifting of colours that best suits each shot. Hues are shifted to colours the world is not meant to be, and saturation is selectively ramped up to 1000 to create lurid pinks and shocking yellows and an absolutely unique look to the film. It looks weird, but fantastic.
TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER has two major advantages over PISTOL OPERA. Firstly, they remembered to include a story. And it's a really good one... a melodrama in the finest tradition, featuring love and loss and friendship and rivalry and hatred and sorrow and jealousy and heroism and good and evil and all the finest things in life. The script is very well thought out, full of lots of details that are woven together in a way that keeps you on your toes.
The mood is definitely spoof, and absolutely pitch perfect. I haven't laughed out loud so much since SHAOLIN SOCCER, yet secretly really caring about what was going to happen to the characters. Acting is as over the top as the soundtrack, in permanent crescendo, delivered with a straight face and sincerity that would make the most melancholy of viewers at least giggle a bit.
I enjoyed this movie so much - so utterly out of nowhere, inexplicable, funny, sweet, moving,... where did these ideas come from? It all fits together and makes so much sense you think perhaps the idea was obvious all along, but I'm pretty sure that it was in exactly one persons head ever before he put it on film. And then there are few curveballs that are *definitely* ideas of an insane but brilliant mind .
Very highly recommended!
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