Roong longs for the day when she can be with Min, her Burmese lover, an illegal immigrant. She pays Orn, an older woman to take care of Min while she looks for a place for them to stay. One afternoon, Min takes Roong for a picnic in jungle, where they feel safe to express their love. But meanwhile, Orn has also gone to the jungle, with Tommy, co-worker of her husband, Sirote.Written by
Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2002 (#03) See more »
Two different cut versions were released on DVD and VCD in Thailand. Both versions are missing the following footage:
A six-minute driving scene in which Tommy follows Orn on his motorcycle;
A two-minute scene of Roong and Min driving to the jungle;
A one-minute scene of Roong fondling Min's penis (with a clear view of Min's erection in the process). The original Thai release is missing an additional scene:
A ten-minute sequence of Orn and Tommy making love on the forest floor. The UK DVD from Second Run and the French DVD from mk2 are uncut. Both versions of the Thai DVD/VCD were withdrawn when the Thai censors decided to ban the film.
This is a film-school level concept with film-school level execution. Some of the scenes are so long and static I half expected a screensaver would kick in. Some people in this website have been trying to make sense of some of the scenes in this film, but I think those conclusions are illusory or wishful thinking, as is much modern art criticism. The real fact is, the film is objectively very poor.
Yes, this is certainly an art film, that is, it's meant to make us think about life rather than simply to entertain. The problem is, it is way too self-consciously an art film, the story is drearily paced (as if trying to be the most artsy film ever made by dint of its sheer slowness) and the execution is quite undistinguished (as if to say it is so artsy that it doesn't even have to try). Nothing is revealed by the film, no deep or hidden meanings - possibly no meaning at all except to show a few odd people having a rather odd sort of afternoon in the forest. Happy for some, sad for others. Nothing to make us think, except try to figure out what was the point of it all. OK it's art, but let's be straight about this: it's extremely poor art.
All of the characters are unendearing, and as we must assume that the director is not trying to disengage us from the movie completely, it must only be because the most basic elements of film-making are being eschewed (this may be done consciously, but for the most part I fear not). The acting is wooden (witness - oh deary me - the factory manager, who may well be a real factory manager, but who has obviously never been in front of a camera in his life), the dialogue is mumbled, and almost every scene is amazingly dislikeable. There is a voice-over at times from the Burmese character that adds nothing but confusion as to who (or what), the film is about. I felt nothing at all for the characters, but very sorry at times for the actors.
The whole thing finally grinds to a virtual standstill in horribly overlong scenes towards the end in which the characters emotions are summed up. The intention here seems to be to impress the images upon us by burning them physically onto our retinas, but basically, artlessness does not make good art, and these scenes just unimpress and leave us cold, as does the whole thing. I live in Thailand and watched this film with my Thai girlfriend and she can confirm that the movie did not provide any insights into the Thai character or Thai way of life. It is just a stick thrown into the air.
This cannot be what the director intended. No offense to him for having a go, but we can all do just as well with a camcorder and a few friends. The real laughing stocks are the film festival organisers who, like the modern art collectors who pay a fortune for bits of trash, were duped into thinking that this, being a slow film from an exotic country, was absolutely just the thing for us to sit and ponder over at their film festival.
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