Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: Namtan Daeng 2 (Brown Sugar 2)


  • Directed by Prachya Lampongchat, Surawat Chuphol, Anurak Janlongsilp
  • Starring Anna Ris, Narisara Srisan, Prangthong Changtham, Arthit Amornvej, Rapat Akenithiset, Weerachaisriwanik Wannikkul
  • Released in Thai cinemas on November 4, 2010; rated 18+
  • Wise Kwai's rating: 3/5

Less straightforward than the first trio of erotic-themed indie shorts, Brown Sugar 2 (Namtan Daeng 2, น้ำตาลแดง 2), has a darker, more surreal tone that's full of metaphor and symbolism. The directors of this batch of Brown Sugar reflect on sensual sights, sounds and shadows, leaving more to the imagination that is perhaps less immediately titillating than the first spoonful of shorts.

Like the first film, which was released back in August by Sahamongkol Film International and Baa-Ram-Ewe producers Prachya Pinkaew and Bandit Thongdee, Brown Sugar 2 opens with a 5-minute intro segment. It's about a ladies' man who breaks up with his girlfriend as soon as she starts asking the wrong questions: What are you doing? Where are you? Who are you with? Tired of making up lies, he plans to let his latest fling know the answer to these questions, but then she turns the tables on him, and gets him all hot and bothered.

The action then shifts to the first segment, Trisadee Bon Toh Arharn (ทฤษฎีบนโต๊ะอาหาร) by Prachya Lampongchat.

Featuring a young blind man, who stays rooted to a wooden chair in front of a window, reading from a Braille book in his lap, Trisadee mostly deals with sensual sounds.

The wind blows through the window, making the lace curtains billow and flap. It's an old house with a leaky roof, so there's lots of echoing water drops. And a steam locomotive is heard chugging nearby, though it's explained in the dialog that there's construction going on nearby.

Anna Ris and Narisara Srisant star in this segment. They are best friends who return to their house after a day of shopping and find their blind friend reading poetry.

Anna portrays an actress and model. Her best friend is perhaps more than just a BFF. She stays still for a few frames, gazing lovingly into a photo of Anna, with her face reflected in the glass of the framed picture.


The mood shifts from surreal to mysterious in Lum Prang (หลุมพราง) by Surawat Chuphol, in which a young man is returning to his rural home province after the death of his beloved aunt.

Conveniently and confusingly, he's met by his older cousin, who looks just like the aunt he had the hots for as a boy.

And there's a well-endowed teenage daughter hanging around, and she gets her clothes off at some point, though I'm not really sure why. But then again, hey, why not?

The story, which has an old-timey Jan Dara vibe, toggles back and forth between the present and guy's boyhood days, when he was living with his aunt, who had financial troubles and had a thuggish loanshark coming over to take his interest out in trade.

It looks like maybe the busty teenage girl might be heading down the same path with a group of local hoods.

Back in the past, the jealous boy eventually takes care of the situation with his auntie. Perhaps he'll come to the girl's rescue as well.

There's a slick reference to Sahamongkol's ghost thriller Maha'lai Sayong Kwan (Haunted Universities), with a segment from that horror-shorts compilation popping up on the TV. It's the one starring Anna Ris.


The final Brown Sugar segment is Khurak Bon Dao Loke (คู่รักบนดาวโลก) by Anurak Janlongsilp. It's about a busy guy and gal who are always on the go and can never seem to connect.

It's Inception-lite, as the man lives in a dreamy time-fractured slow-motion world all his own.

Everything he touches turns to dust. This allows for interminable scenes of leaves falling in slow motion, and each time he tries to catch a leaf, it bursts into millions of tiny particles. The filmmakers seem to be asking: Did you catch that? Well, we'll show you again. And again. And again.

It's slow and not really suspenseful. Like that snow globe that takes forever to fall and shatter on the floor, what happens with this couple is inevitable. You can see it coming from miles away. No amount of skin moisturizer spread on the woman's toned thighs will prevent it from happening.

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