Limitless Cinema in Broken English

July 20, 2009

POLITICALLY LAWYER AND NARRATIVE CINEMA (2009, Chaloemkiat Saeyong, A++++++++++)

Filed under: Uncategorized — celinejulie @ 11:26 pm

NEW THAI FILMS I SAW ON JULY 17, 2009

1.POLITICALLY LAWYER AND NARRATIVE CINEMA (Chaloemkiat Saeyong, 27 min, A+++++++++++++++)

ฆาตรกรรมสวาท ประหลาดน่านฟ้า ทำให้คนหายตัวไป/เฉลิมเกียรติ แซ่หย่อง/27.00

I’m not sure if the official English title of this film is spelled “POLTICALLY LAWYER…” or “POLITICAL LAWYER…”, but I think I saw the words POLITICALLY LAWYER… in the beginning of this film. If I remember it correctly and the actual title is POLITICALLY LAWYER…, I also wonder if the grammatical error is intentional or not, because this film clearly plays with “languages” in its story.

The Thai title of this film can be literally translated as PASSIONATE MURDER, CURIOUS AIRSPACE, MAKING PEOPLE DISAPPEAR.

This film is surely one of my most favorite films of this year.

2.DROWN (Pittaya Weerasakwong, animation, 5 min, A+)
จม/พิทยะ วีระศักดิ์วงศ์/5.00

3.SILENT PASSION (Apisit Rukwiriya, 10 min, A+)

เงียบพิศวาส/อภิสิทธ์ รักษ์วิริยะ/10.00

4.PERFECT BEAUTY (Jutiporn Upaiboon, 8 min, animation, A+/A)
งามอย่างสมบูรณ์แบบ/จุติพร อู่ไพบูรณ์/8.00

5.HAPPY ENDING (Isara Googiattipoom, 9 min, A+/A)
จบบริบูรณ์/อิศรา กู้เกียรติภูมิ/9.00

6.STARTING (Surasen Granto, 15 min, A-)
จุดเริ่มต้น/สุรเสน กรานโต/15.00

7.MIND CONTROL (Sutham Jeerasilp, 12 min, B+)
จิตไร้สำนึก/สุธรรม จีระศิลป์/12.00

The reasons why I love POLITICALLY LAWYER AND NARRATIVE CINEMA include:

1.Its opening scene, which shows numbers running on something like a TV screen. This opening scene makes me think about how TV news in Thailand is always distorted.

2.In an early scene, there is a text saying that the director likes to observe nature, but the director lets us watch some mechanical cranes moving for a long time, instead of watching nature like in PERU TIME (Chaloemkiat Saeyong, A+++++).

3.The moving crane is shown again near the end of the film, but this time the scene is in the late evening, not in daytime like in the beginning of the film. We watch the crane continue moving while the light is fading away from the scene. This scene, together with the story and the images which come before that scene, made me feel so sad that I cried, though I’m not sure why and I think this kind of feelings may not be the director’s intention.

4. A part of the story in this film is about Somchai Neelaphaijit, a Thai lawyer whose disappearance is still not resolved today. I think it’s good that a filmmaker still remembers him, though Somchai disappeared five years ago.

5.Other parts of this film make me think about some other things. I guess this film is not only about Somchai’s case.

6.A character is killed in this film to protect the secrecy of something. I think this part of the story is interesting. A character in this film is called Sillamanee, which I think is very interesting, too.

7.If I remember it correctly, other characters in the film gossip about an adulterous affair, the disappearance, or the murder. I think this kind of gossiping is interesting.

8.Near the end of the film, a text asks the viewers to piece together the snippets of information scattered all through the film. I think this is very interesting, and reminds me of the fact that we may never know the truth about something. We can only piece together the official lies, the rumors, the gossip, the censored news, the distorted news, etc, which may never lead us to the truth.

9.If I remember it correctly, someone in the film says something like WHOEVER SPEAKS THE TRUTH SHALL DIE, or something like that.

10.Characters in this film question if films can really show the truth.

11.This film (unintentionally?) makes me think about the good side and the bad side of “make-believe”. In an early scene, this film asks us to imagine that the following scenes take place in an airport, though these scenes actually take place in a university building. This kind of “imagination” is very funny, and reminds me of THE LIVING WORLD (2003, Eugene Green, A+++++++++++++++), which also lets the viewers use this kind of imagination. In THE LIVING WORLD, we see a dog, but the characters call it a lion, or something like that. Then we start to regard it in our minds as “a lion character”, though we see a dog. This kind of technique shows us “the power of words”, which can transform something into another thing in our minds.

Near the end of POLITICALLY LAWYER AND NARRATIVE CINEMA, a text asks us again to imagine that the following scenes take place in an airport, though this time the text seems to be redundant. It seems to lose its magic, or its power. It seems to be too much. It seems to arouse the viewers’ resistance, instead of the viewers’ willingness to obey what the text says. This thing makes me think about the bad side of “make-believe”, especially when we are forced repeatedly to perceive something, or some people, as other things or as other people or as something higher than they really are. This may not be the director’s intention. It is just an idea I accidentally think about after I saw this film.

12.This film plays with many elements of cinema, including subtitles, spoken languages, spoilers, editing, voiceovers, texts, role playing, soundtrack, mise-en-scene, etc.

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1 Comment »

  1. This is my reply to Nanoguy in my bilingual blog:
    http://celinejulie.blogspot.com/2009/07/politically-lawyer-and-narrative-cinema.html

    I’m not sure what this film is really about, but I think the early part of this film works both intellectually and emotionally. The early part of this film makes me think a lot, and gives me the feeling of excitement and humor all the time. The latter part of this film has a tremendous effect on my emotion. It makes me feel very sad, though I’m not sure why. I like it that the film seems to stop giving information or messages near the end of the film. It gives me time to reflect on what I have just experienced.

    In a way, this kind of technique reminds me of the black-out scene in THE BANGKOK BOURGEOIS PARTY (2007, Prap Boonpan, A+), though there are some differences between them. In THE BANGKOK BOURGEOIS PARTY, the black-out scene seems to last only 3 minutes, because the viewers may not need much time to reflect on the information given in the film, because the film gives its information or messages straightforwardly. But in the case of POLITICALLY LAWYER AND NARRATIVE CINEMA, I need a lot of time to reflect on what I have just seen, because this film gives its information or messages very cryptically, not straightforwardly. That’s why I exclude three films I saw on that day from my list, because my mind was still thinking about POLITICALLY LAWYER AND NARRATIVE CINEMA, while my eyes were watching these three films (CHINESE TRADITIONAL OPERA ON THE PATH OF CHANGE, BICYCLE, and FROM ELDER TO YOUNGER).

    I think the films of Chaloemkiat Saeyong and Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke are the most exciting things I experience this year. I would like to (jokingly) call Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke as Thai Werner Schroeter, and call Chaloemkiat Saeyong as Thai Jean-Luc Duras (the son between Jean-Luc Godard and Marguerite Duras). Hahaha.

    Comment by celinejulie — July 22, 2009 @ 10:36 pm


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