Malila: The Farewell Flower

Director: Anucha Boonyawatana
2017 | Thailand | 96m
GENRE: Asian/Pacific Islander | Death/Dying | Drama | Gay | Religion/Spirituality | Romance | Violence
SECTION: World Cinema
Expected Guests: Producer, Donsaron Kovitvanitcha

Trailer

A lyrical meditation on love, loss, and the fragility of life, Malila: The Farewell Flower is also the story of a passionate romance and a visually sumptuous exploration of Buddhist philosophy. Former lovers Shane (Sukollawat Kanarot) and Pitch (Anuchit Sapanpong) reunite in their home village after years apart and a series of personal tragedies. Having come to terms with a terminal illness, Pitch devotes his days to painstakingly creating exquisite bai sri ornaments, delicate flower sculptures used in Thai religious ceremonies. Pitch’s calmness deeply affects Shane, who is struggling to deal with the death of his daughter and the subsequent disintegration of his marriage.

As the two lovers reconnect, they start to release themselves from the burdens of the past, in tenderly filmed encounters that touch on deep questions of love and mortality. Their reunion, and Shane’s need to find a way to cope with Pitch’s impending death, inspires Shane to recommit to something he had long been considering: pursuing a path as a Buddhist monk. It is Shane’s challenging journey of acceptance that propels the film to its cathartic conclusion, delivered with memorable imagery by visionary director Anucha Boonyawatana (The Blue Hour). With sensitive performances and immersive, at times almost hallucinatory, cinematography, Malila is rich in detail, beauty, and symbolism—much like Pitch’s lovingly crafted bai sri ornaments, which start to wilt even before the artist can complete them.

— CHARLES PURDY

This film contains disturbing images.

SPONSORED BY
Ken Fulk Inc.

CO-PRESENTED BY
GAPA Foundation / Buddhist Church of San Francisco / Center for Asian American Media

  • Language: In Thai with English subtitles. ASL interpreter present
  • Premiere Status: US