Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Venturing into Jakwaral Nilthamrong's Unreal Forest

Production company Extra Virgin whets my appetite with the first still from Man and Gravity director Jakwaral Nilthamrong's debut feature, Unreal Forest, which was shot in Zambia as part of the International Film Festival Rotterdam's Forget Africa campaign.

Classified as a "creative documentary" -- a term I expect to be seeing more and more of -- Unreal Forest is a film-within-a-film-type film, part documentary and part magical-realism storytelling.

Here is more from the Extra Virgin page:

Unreal Forest is one story told in two different forms: one in fiction and another in documentary-style. It’s a story of outsiders travelling overseas to a forgotten land. Their mission is to discover a talented unknown filmmaker and show him to the world. Is the way of Western thoughts really benefitting, or if it’s just another helpless colonization?


A magic man is in a canoe and paddling across a big river. He has white powder covering all over his body. He arrives at the riverside where an old man is waiting for him. They speak in indigenous language. Then the old man leads him to a house where his ill son is lying on his sickbed.

At night the two starts a campfire and the whitened man says he will try to ask the spirit to heal his son. The next day, the whitened man applies white powder to the son’s body before disappearing into the wood.

The whitened man meets the spirit and comes out from the wood with a disease. His skin is shredding out like wood chips. The man tells the father that his son is dying and there’s no way to help. But the spirit in the wood tells him that the son’s soul belongs to a great waterfall, so they should transport him there so that he could return to meet the father again in another form.

The film is supported by Bangkok's Numthong Gallery and the IFFR's Hubert Bals Fund. So there's a good chance it will come back to Bangkok for screening at some point next year after it premieres in Rotterdam.

(Via Extra Virgin)

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