Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
At the heart of the sprawling supercity of Bangkok lies Thaniya Road, a red-light district catering exclusively to Japanese visitors. Over four years in the making, this visceral free-form epic from Japanese director Tomita Katsuya explores the fractured psyche of its denizens.
High-class Thai call girl Luck supports her family and is successful enough to be able to pick and choose her clients. Outsider Ozawa (played by director Tomita) is a veteran of the Japanese Self-Defence Force and after decades of peacekeeping in Southeast Asia is still searching for his place in the world. His compatriots are a seedy collection of yakuza rejects who see Thailand only as a paradise ripe to be exploited.
World-weary Luck finds a kindred spirit in Ozawa and accompanies him to visit her family in the rural northeast when Ozawa is sent to Laos to scout business opportunities. Meeting Luck’s family and friends inspires Ozawa, but the scars are still raw in this region literally haunted by the horrors of the past. With long-form scope to develop its characters and themes, Bangkok Nites delivers a complex and ultimately affecting portrait of a society marred by decades of foreign exploitation. — MM