Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
Veteran Thai cinematographer Phuttiphong Aroonpheng makes an enchanting feature debut with this intoxicating and mysterious film about a fisherman who rescues a mute refugee from a mangrove swamp somewhere near the Thai-Myanmar border. The fisherman calls the refugee Thongchai and a strong kinship blossoms between the pair. Then one day the fisherman doesn’t return from the sea and Thongchai is thrust into a new role by the sudden arrival of the fisherman’s ex-wife.
“Aroonpheng’s great achievement is to convey a sense of humanist outrage while telling an involving, sometimes headily perplexing story in a magical realist register… With a rich sound design and a haunting score… Aroonpheng and DoP Nawarophaat Rungphiboonsophit create an impressionistic atmosphere that plays on contrasts of thick darkness and artificial, vibrant colour… The editing creates an unsettling fragmentation that thickens the existential mystery Aroonpheng, it should be noted, is an admirer of compatriot Apitchatpong Weerasethakul, but claims he’s more influenced by David Lynch; enthralled viewers will certainly pick up intriguing undertones of both.” — Jonathan Romney, Screendaily