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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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Tears of the Black Tiger is certainly a unique cinematic experience; part western, part comedy and part tragic melodrama, this Thai movie is perfect for those looking for an alternative to predictable Hollywood pap.
Dum is the handsome hero of the film, a member of the notorious Black Tiger bandits and a crack shot with a six shooter. Rumpoey is the love of his life, who has agreed to marry Dum; despite their class differences, she has arranged to elope with him. When Dum misses his rendezvous with Rumpoey (due to being caught in a gun battle), she is heartbroken and, under pressure from her father, accepts a proposal of marriage from Police Captain Kumjorn.
In a battle between the police and the bandits, Captain Kumjorn is taken prisoner; Dum is given the job of killing the policeman. As a last request, Kumjorn asks that Dum informs his fiancée of his fate and produces a photograph of his wife-to-be. On recognising Rumpoey's picture, Dum frees Kumjorn, but in doing so, he puts his own life on the line...
Stylish, funny and occasionally completely off-the-wall, Tears of the Black Tiger is an affectionate homage to Thai movies of yesteryear and Hollywood westerns. It is a strange mix, but it works. Only an occasional lull in pace stops this from being a wholly successful film, but don't let that put you off from watching itthe positives far outweigh the negatives.
Heavily stylised scenes and surreal imagery combine with over-saturated hues to produce a most aesthetically pleasing film; the look is reminiscent of musicals from the 50s whilst the occasional moments of graphic ultra-violence could be straight out of a Tarantino movie. Each character is perfectly cast and the comic-book approach taken by the actors in the realisation of their roles complements the overall style of the film.
Tears of the Black Tiger is a fun film that is destined to become a cult favourite amongst fans of bizarre cinema (and may even improve on repeat viewings, as with most cult movies).
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