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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Jao Nok Krajok" )

 

directed by Anocha Suwichakornpong
Thailand 2009

 

Male nurse Pun (Arkaney Cherkham) has come from the countryside to look after Ake (Phakpoom Surapongsanuruk), the paralyzed son of affluent professor Thanin (Paramej Noi-am). Once an aspiring filmmaker Ake wastes away in his bedroom, refusing to begin physical therapy and shunning all visitors (including his father). The film isn't female director Anocha Suwichakornpong variation on PERSONA since the two young characters manage to bond over shared interests (at earlier times, both wanted to be writers, and Pun is figuratively paralyzed by the poverty that initially keeps him from leaving his position (despite telling someone from home over the phone that he finds the house so "soulless"). Suwichakornpong sketches her characters very thinly, as her interest with the film is in the titular MUNDANE HISTORY; asking in her director's statement "What happens if the private is public and the mundane is history?" (when Ake does a Google search on Pun - a very public invasion of privacy perhaps intended to get a rise out of him - he pulls up four scant entries on Pun's medical schooling and employment, to which the other man replies "That's all of me."). Suwichakornpong also asks how one chooses which information to include and which to omit" in a history. She presents us with images - both mundane and fantastic - associated with the characters and later gives us the situational and emotional contexts for those memories (from Ake's vivid recollection of a supernova - brilliantly and movingly rendered in CGI in conjunction with Furniture's "Hush, The Dead are Sleeping" and his repeated non-response to Pun's question of whether he would like the light turned off at bedtime to Thanin's fleeting memories of his son's childhood summoned up by a smoke on the balcony overlooking the yard where the child grew up). All of these images are further framed wtihin the Buddhist cosmology of birth, death, and reincarnation (which intimates the chances for transcendence and renewal from the current mundane existences of the characters). Ultimately slight yet immensely moving.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 13 December 2010 (USA)

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DVD Review: Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Second Run DVD

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:18:06 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.88 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Thai Dolby Digital 5.1; Thai Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Second Run DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with director Anocha Suwichakornpong (16:9; 14:36)
• Short film GRACELAND (16:9; 16:50)
• Trailer (16:9; 1:38)
• Liner Notes Booklet by Carmen Gray

DVD Release Date: October 22nd, 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Second Run treats this director-approved HD-mastered transfer to a high bitrate (viewers may actually squint when the star explodes during the exquisite CGI supernova sequence). The Dolby Digital 5.1 track (and 2.0 stereo downmix) seem comparable at first; however, the director interview will have you checking the sound design again and preferring the surround track. The optional English subtitles are error-free.

Besides the inclusion of director Suwichakornpong's award-winning 2006 short film GRACELAND, Second Run has also included an interview with the director. She speaks in subtitled Thai (she studied in England and America, and attended Columbia University for Film School, so she may have produced this talking head interview for multiple uses) about the film's origin as a one-page short story and the intersection of her socio-political concerns with Thailand's political upheaval during production. She closes the interview by briefly discussing her next project (unnamed here but presumably 2010's BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER going by her description).

A liner notes essay booklet by Carmen Gray provides some additional background information about Thailand's political climate, the film's rating (it was the first Thai film under the new rating system to receive their strictest 20+ classification, which Gray posits as being the result of a rather frankly shot failed attempt at masturbation by the paralyzed protagonist, but there is also very graphic stock footage of a birth by C-section that seems even more deliberately provocative - due to its duration - than the former sequence) and points out some plot details that may not be apparent the first time around (Gray saw the film at a film festival in Transylvania, so she contrasts the experimentalism of Suwichakornpong and fellow Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul with Romania's own current filmmaking trend of naturalism).

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Second Run DVD

Region 0 - PAL

 

 




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