Aditya Assarat's Wonderful Town continues its festival run, going to the San Francisco International Film Festival, where it has been programmed in the New Directors lineup.
Described as a "melancholy Thai 'ghost story', about an architect who falls in love with a hotel maid," the film "substitutes dreamlike scenes of the tsunami-ravaged seacoast for shock cuts. No monsters here, just ordinary people haunted by the disaster, years later." Here's more from the festival synopsis:
This 2008 Rotterdam International Film Festival Tiger Award-winner is set in the backwater town of Takua Pa, near the Andaman Sea coast of Southern Thailand, where the 2004 tsunami killed thousands of people. Ton is an architect from Bangkok assigned to supervise the reconstruction of a beach hotel. He puts up at a plain, very quiet hotel in town and soon discovers that a pall of sadness hangs over the locals. Na, the beautiful young woman whose family runs the hotel, is one of the few people to respond to him. The residents are clearly “haunted” by the tsunami and the unpredictability of fate, and a mood of misfortune clings to the green, picturesque hills even on the sunniest day. When a tentative romance blossoms between the laconic man and woman, a ray of hope appears amid the gloom. But Na’s brother Wit, leader of the bored youths who endlessly cruise the local roads on their motor scooters, sees Ton as a threatening outsider. Writer/director Aditya Assarat, a regular at international festivals since 2000, gets naturalistic performances from Supphasit Kansen and Anchalee Saisoontorn as Ton and Na, but the lingering, hushed air of apprehension is the real star of Assarat’s dreamlike scenario. As Na admonishes her brother, “You’re still drowning here.” A very touching, astutely observed film, Wonderful Town offers a glimpse of a world rarely seen.
- Wonderful Town reviewed in New York
- Wonderful Town wins Fipresci award in Hong Kong
- Hong Kong roundup, Wonderful Town, Handle Me With Care reviewed
- Wonderful Town, Flower in the Pocket share prizes at Deauville
- Kino goes to Wonderful Town
- Wonderful Town, Flower in the Pocket share honors again in Rotterdam
(Via Michael Hawley in The Evening Class/Twitch)