While it earns its due at the awards shows in Thailand, Aditya Assarat's romantic drama Wonderful Town continues to astonish critics around the world.
It's on limited release in London, where The Financial Times' Nigel Andrews included it in a roundup review of recent films. Here's what he had to say about Wonderful Town:
The town itself is a debris civilisation in a state of shock, a state so lingering it has become almost narcotic. The battered houses between the green limestone mountains and the grey sea are like a plate of leavings, to be pecked by birds or buzzed by insects. The “insects” are the bike boys who menace visitors or vandalise their cars – even the town’s petty crime fraternity is dogged by purposelessness.
The film’s pessimism is redeemed and opposed by the aching beauty of the skyline – those soaring verdant crags – and by the beat, frail as a bird’s wings, of the couple’s love. We suspect it cannot last: that past and future will converge and crush it like tectonic plates. But that makes the shy overtures of a pressed hand or stolen kiss all the more poignant, and the shared bed like a condemned prisoner’s dream before the last dawn. Filmmaker Aditya Assarat, in his first feature, directs with a plainness that would be forlorn were it not translucent. The camera’s sparse movements seem dictated not by him but by the actors, caught in the spell of their fictive lives and inspired by the wayward, unearthly whispers of the genius loci.
Wonderful Town is playing at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) until April 2. It's distributed in the U.K. by Soda Pictures.
It's also out on DVD in the U.S.
Update: Philip French of the Observer has a review.
(Via Pop Pictures, Financial Times)