Saturday, February 21, 2004

DVD reviews: One Night Husband, Fake, Province 77

The performances are stupendous. The imagery, in this debut feature by indie director Pimpaka Towira, is stunning. But the story in One Night Husband doesn’t make any sense. Pop singer Nicole Theriault is Sipang, a hi-so woman whose husband disappears into the rainy darkness on their first night together. When he fails to return, Sipang reports the incident to the police. She also calls her new brother-in-law, who shows up at the police station angry at being bothered.

He takes out his anger on his meek, little wife Bussaba (Siriyakorn Pukkavesh). Sipang and Bussaba eventually develop a friendship as they try to track down the missing husband. In the course of the film, which is beautifully photographed, Sipang becomes more careworn and less glamorous; the cowed Bussaba stronger and more sensual.

But then there’s that story. Because, if Bussaba is Sipang’s sister-in-law . . . well, to raise questions would be to give too much away.


. A more aptly named movie has probably not been made before or since this Thai indie arthouse flick graced screens last year. Fake is an enigma. The only tangible fact you can derive from it is that it exists and that you have to spend 109 minutes of your time to see it. There’s a DVD, and you can hold it in your hand. But what’s happening here?

Actually, this quirky film isn’t so bad. Ostensibly, “Fake” is about three young slackers, all with scruffy hairstyles, T-shirts that are too small and jeans that ride halfway down their butts, revealing the tops of their boxer shorts. The three guys – Soong (Ray MacDonald), Poe (Leo Putthipong Sriwat) and Bae (Paopol Thephasdin) – share an apartment and, unbeknownst to each other, the same girlfriend (Pachrapa Chaichua). Or are the three guys really just one guy and the one woman actually three different people?

You reach this suspicion in watching this. It’s all part of the fun. Nothing seems to make sense. Especially since the DVD doesn’t have English subtitles.


A Thai soap opera infused with the spirit of The Fast and Furious and the language of Eminem’s 8 Mile, this dramatisation of life in a six-block area of Los Angeles known as Thai Town starts off with a gunshot and a flashback.

Province 77 goes back to an illegal race of imported cars through the LA streets – just like Fast and the Furious. Even the actors are trying emulate the characters of that Hollywood racing flick. Jeremy Thana is entertaining as Goldie, the leader of the Thai street gang. With his shaven head and gold tooth, Jeremy has all Vin Diesel’s attitude, and is even more charismatic. The Paul Walker in all this is Pete Thongchua playing a “fresh off the boat” Thai – a former cop who has come to LA looking to put an end to criminal gang.

Meanwhile, there’s Pat (Mike Kingprayom), a young Turk seeking to make a name for himself on the streets. In a subplot that adds little to the film’s appeal, Pat’s sister is played by his real sister, Methinee Kingprayom. Overall though, there is a streetwise energy to Province 77 that make entertaining enough to at least rent. The DVD includes English subtitles, as well as a music video.

(Originally published in The Nation on February 20, 2004; retrieved from cache)

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