TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER. These are crazy good times for people who are crazy about good crazy (and colorful) westerns. Weeks after the over-the-top El Topo regained its midnight movie status in an extended run at the IFC Center, the offbeat Thai western Tears of the Black Tiger can now be seen just a few blocks away, at The Film Forum.
Tears of the Black Tiger presents familiar plot elements (heroism, banditry, sharpshooting, frustrated romance) in an unfamiliar way, veering from location shots to stagey set pieces in the blink of an eye with plenty of horsewinks along the trail. At turns it's funny, touching, and grossly violent--a refreshing, candy-colored novelty for this moviegoer.
Tears of the Black Tiger pays homage to screen stars of yesteryear and also cribs worshipfully from the great westerns of Sergio Leone. If you're familiar with those movies, you'll recognize many elements of Tears of the Black Tiger, including aspects of the score. And, if you're like me (and many likeminded souls in the Film Forum audience), you'll be well entertained despite some slow sections.
If you're somehow unfamiliar with those Sergio Leone westerns, there's more good news: Many will be revived as part of the Ennio Morricone tributes at MoMA and The Film Forum come February.
Here's a trailer for Tears of the Black Tiger. Warning: It might diminish some of the movie's surprises....