Monday, June 25, 2007

Dokfa nai meuman (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2000) aka The Mysterious Object At Noon

The Mysterious Object At Noon (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2000)
Rating: 8.2

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's debut film is a experimental documentary hybrid in which a film crew travels the Thailand countryside interviewing the Siamese villagers and getting them to contribute to a surreal game of "exquisite corpse" where a narrative is constructed and continued by each participant. The resulting fictional story which in turn is acted out and blended in with documentary footage of the storytellers, is interesting, however I don't think it's the highlight of the film itself. The most intriguing part for me was the images of the people and their environment. Thailand is such a foreign land to me, I found myself engaged with the way of life. In one scene a group of teenage boys interacts with elephants, another scene shows the busy streets of Bangkok, and the film eventually ends when the film stock runs out, as a group of kids play soccer. The story begins with a woman who sells tuna with her husband from the back of a van, and ends with a group of school children who abruptly and anticlimactically decide to kill off all of the characters. An amateur theater troupe gives a performance, an elderly woman adds her two cents, and two deaf girls contribute using sign language as well.

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