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If only this dream sequence of a film came with a frame, a few moments of lucid guidance. A narrator, even for a brief opening and perhaps an explanatory note on the shift from rural Thailand to urban?
Without a background prep course, we are left wandering.
We are told by reviewers that this is a film about "Joe's" parents, his memories. Oh? Where? Not in the film. Not unless some lengthy Thai passage wasn't translated.
Please, Apichatpong, just a hint and the help of structure. It wouldn't have harmed the feel, the mood, the effect, in any way.
Are the two contrasting sections of the film, rural to urban, concurrent or a gap in time?
Some scenes, disassociated as they may be, are marvelous. The industrial process room, with a snakelike suction tube that would have done Dali proud. The steam, the fumes, whatever the smoky substance, swirling amid the machinery, I could smell the metal in the air.
We are also told by other reviewers that it's one of the Four Best films of the past decade in one poll and THE best in a poll of critics associated with the prestigious Toronto Film Festival.
Really? You can't be serious.
What it truly is? A film of beauty, of quiet, of sly humor, reflection, and a soundtrack of subdued accompaniment that seems to invite introspection in the viewer.
That's not all that bad, if you ask me. But we need a Sherpa beyond the simple edits.
If you do some research you'll find that the film was prohibited from exhibition in Thailand. Four scenes the censors thought objectionable, including a long, yet somewhat passive kiss and the sight of a monk playing guitar.
Strange, these moral critiques coming from country that for decades allowed its capital to become the brothel of the world.
I fear some of the reviews are thus political. And certainly I can't support censorship. But let's get a grip on the difference between support for the filmmaker and sainthood.
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