Sunday, June 20, 2004

Review: Fan Chan (My Girl)

  • Directed by Vitcha Gojiew, Songyos Sugmakanan, Nithiwat Tharathorn, Witthaya Thongyooyong, Anusorn Trisirikasem, Komgrit Triwimol.
  • Starring Charlie Trairattana, Focus Jirakul.
  • Played commercially in Thailand in 2003, screens at film festivals, DVD with English subtitles available from Hong Kong.
Fan Chan, or My Girl, was one of the biggest Thai box office hits of 2003, which was surprising, because Thai films traditionally have not done very well at the box office. This one was a feel-good sleeper hit.

Sentimental is the word that best sums this up. It's a sweet sentimentality about childhood and a simpler time.

It starts off with a guy getting a wedding invitation from an old friend in his hometown. As he drives home, he recalls his childhood days.

The story is about a boy name Jeab (Charlie Trairattana) and a neighbor girl named Noi Nah (Focus Jirakul). They are best friends, even though their fathers are rival barbers with shops on each side of a mini-mart in the small town of Petchaburi.

Every morning, Jeap wakes up too late to catch the school bus. His father must then give him a ride on his motorcycle to catch up with the bus.

On the bus, we are introduced to Jeab, Noi Nah and all the boys, who are led by a big bully named Jack (Chaleumpol Tikumpornteerawong). They all talk about what they are going to do after school. The boys plan to play Chinese fantasy. The girls will play house.

Jeab longs to play with the boys, but they play in a park across a busy street, which he can't ride his bike across. So he's limited to playing with the girls.

In one of the most fantastic sequences, the boys are playing Chinese fantasy, dressed in the authentic period costumes and performing wuxia and wire-fu stunts -- right out of Crouching Tiger. That's only a fantasy, though.

Eventually, Jeab gets to join the boys club, but in doing so he betrays Noi Nah.

There is plenty more humor in this film, though it's been awhile since I've seen this so I can't remember many more specific instances.

All the children who acted in this are great, especially Jack. He won a best supporting actor award from the National Film Association.

It's a sweet tale that made me nostalgic for 1980s Thailand - and I didn't even grow up in 1980s Thailand. Still, it was a time before mobile phones and 7-Elevens and life seemed much simpler.

1 comment:

  1. I already seen this movie and one aspect impressed me more than the others: likenesses between the strumental tracks of this movie soundtrack and those by Joe Hisaishi. The first one, played during the cycle trip, reminding me "Summer" from Kikujiro no natsu, another coming of age movie(even if this one covers not years but days). Likenesses are really plain even for an inattentive ear.


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