Tropical Malady: Same-Sex Desire, Casualness, and the Queering of Impermanence in the Cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul
2016. "Tropical Malady: Same-Sex Desire, Casualness, and the Queering of Impermanence in the Cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul", Ghostly Desires: Queer Sexuality and Vernacular Buddhism in Contemporary Thai Cinema, Arnika Fuhrmann
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Chapter 3 analyzes how independent filmmakers such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul make use of the Buddhist notion of impermanence to interrogate the notions of social wounding and recompense that inform liberal discourse on minoritarian personhood. The analysis of Apichatpong’s Tropical Malady focuses on how male same-sex desiring is situated in the rich affective environment of a cross-gender queer sociality as well as in an economic context of relative poverty that nevertheless translates into affective plenitude. The film makes its greatest intervention into the social negativity of queerness in its second half, in which it performs a queering of the Buddhist notion of impermanence. Tropical Malady thus succeeds in deploying the anachronism of haunting to proffer a model of how to make social, psychological, and Buddhist-informed notions of negativity available to queer critique.