Archive for April 22nd, 2010

by Allan Fish

(Thailand 2002 122m) DVD1/2

Aka. Sud sanaeha

Search for a health certificate

p  Charles de Meaux, Eric Chan  d/w  Apichatpong Weerasethakul  ph  Sayombhu Mukdeeprom  ed  Lee Chatametikool  art  Akekarat Homlaor

Kanokporn Tongaram (Roong), Min Oo (Min), Jenjira Jansuda (Orn), Kanitpat Kremkij, Jaruwan Techastiern, Sa-gnad Chaiyapan,

Think of Thailand on the screen and what does the average person think of?  Old Siam, with Yul Brynner meditating aloud on ‘A Puzzlement’?  Leo DiCaprio miscast in one of Danny Boyle’s low-spots?  Nicole Kidman languishing in the Bangkok Hilton?  Or of what have become demoralising clichés in the western subconscious, of naughty Bangkok whose very name seems to speak of sex, and of dangerous Chaing-Mai, and endless pale beaches stretching off into the horizon.  Out of this comes Apichatpong Weerasethakul, with a name as long as his films (he’s known as Joe to his friends).  He’s a meditative, transcendent film-maker in the Buddhist sense of the world.  In his films, many will be bored, others, if I might borrow Yul Brynner’s phrase, deep in puzzlement.  Yet they are unique and, if nothing else, indicative of a forthright cinematic voice that may drag his nation’s film industry to the level which the Korean cinema now currently holds in the western consciousness.

            Blissfully Yours, whose very title seems to evoke paradise, is essentially set around just three people.  Min is a quiet, almost childish, verging on the self-absorbed, young man who has the left the political turbulence of Burma behind to find work in Thailand but is unable to get the necessary health certificate to stay there.  He’s handicapped a bit by a strange, unnamed rash-like skin problem.  Roong is a young factory worker who Min takes out for a picnic to get away from the blues of her time and motion sweathouse existence and is trying to get him a health certificate.  To this end, she enlists the help of Orn, a middle-aged woman, grieved by the loss of her child, who, unable to persuade her husband to have another child, is sleeping around with a man from her husband’s office.  One afternoon, in the middle of illicit sex with said lover, Orn finds herself in the locale or Roong and Min out on their picnic, and their paradise is interrupted. (more…)

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