Monday, March 15, 2010

Nymph over Miami

Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Nymph (Nang Mai) was in the world competition at the Miami International Film Festival, which wrapped up on Sunday.

The competition was won by Brillante Mendoza's Lola, which was awarded the grand prize of $25,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The audience award went to the Iranian rock 'n' roll drama No One Knows about Persian Cats by Bahman Ghobad. Judge (Tou Xi) by Liu Jie (China) won the FIPRESCI prize. The Miami Herald has the full list of winners.

Ahead of the festival, buzz for Nymph was built up by local arts website City Link, which profiled programmer Tiziana Finzi, who's in her second year heading up the Miami fest.

Writer John Thomason urged:

Check out Thai new wave director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s Nymph, a beautiful and enigmatic trance of a film set largely inside its most prominent character: a pulsating forest whose ethereal naiads threaten to undo the marriage of a photographer and his fetching wife. [W]hat Nymph lacks in coherence it makes up for in its engulfing atmosphere, planting viewers in the inescapable forest courtesy of its acrobatic, extended-take camerawork and soundtrack of creaky, ominous percussion. A more commercially pandering director might weigh down such a visual feast with a stern lecture about environmentalism and how we should respect our natural landscapes before they turn on us, but Ratanaruang is more interested in metaphysical and existential matters, and neither concept guarantees gangbusters at the box office.

Out and about recently, I spotted Nymph playing on a pirate movie channel and I sat down to watch, and even though I'd seen it twice before in the cinema, I was entranced. Even on TV, it's as if the whole movie has the power of the bewitching tree.

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