Based on a Thai legend. Mak leaves for Bangkok and is seriously wounded in the Chiang Toong War. His wife, Nak, dies together with her stillborn child, but when Mak returns, they continue to live together, without his being aware that she is a ghost. But the forces of the supernatural realm eventually prove that such co-existence ultimately leads to an unexpected resolution. Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
"Nang Nak" is set in the late 1860s and is based on a Thai legend of the supernatural. When war comes to Thailand, a young husband, Mak, leaves his newly pregnant wife and goes off to fulfill his duty as a soldier. A serious wound leaves Mak convalescing in Bangkok for many months, but eventually he becomes strong enough to return home. There he reunites with his devoted wife, Nak, and finally sees their infant son. However, it soon becomes evident that Nak's labor pains caused a singular transformation in her. The other villagers have come to fear Nak--and for good reason.
"Nang Nak" set box office records in Thailand when it was released in 1999. It even managed to outsell James Cameron's "Titanic" in that country, and it is easy to see why. Filmed among menacing rivers and lush jungles, "Nang Nak" is a visually stunning film grounded in a solid story line. From the beautiful shots of Thailand's flora and fauna to the chilling supernatural scenes (which occasionally have the slightest--and rather surprising--hint of Sam Raimi's distinctive cinematic style), director Nonzee Nimibutr immerses his audience in an enchanted world. If the film can be criticized for one thing, however, it may be said that the devotion paid to Image is too zealous. The actors chosen for the two lead roles sport close-trimmed modern hairstyles and ideal physiques, and this works against their credibility as village peasants. Also, some of the most evocative nature sequences in the film are edited too aggressively; hence these images are denied some of the power they might have achieved in the hands of, say, Werner Herzog or Terrence Malick. Even so, "Nang Nak" has plenty of power and poetry to spare.
(A cultural/historical note: The unusual and rather startling blackened teeth of the villagers in the film are due to the practice of chewing beechnuts. Notice that at a certain point in the film one of these nuts is placed in a corpse's mouth as it is prepared for burial.)
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