are temporary occupiers. Nearly
invisible in their mall jobs, Lek and Kong break into affluent apartments to
borrow a few hours of the tenants’ lives.
They rarely steal anything outright, unless they are sure it will not be
missed. Unfortunately, there seems to be
something not quite right with their world on a higher metaphysical level in
Kongdej Jaturanrasmee’s P-047, which screens
during the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival.
is a locksmith, whose skills are wasted in his kiosk. Kong sells magazines, but fancies himself a writer
and ladies man. At Kong’s instigation,
they start invading strangers’ flats to experience how the more prosperous live. They
carefully observe each target before their home invasions, but one day the
inevitable happens—violently. From there, all bets are off.
starts as a pretty grounded excursion into petty crime and economic voyeurism
takes a sharp turn into the meta-weird, challenging viewer assumptions
regarding objective reality and discrete character identity. Perhaps Lek and Kong are the same person,
though in many respects, this does not seem to be the case. Yet the hospitalized Lek takes on much of
Kong’s persona, while befriending Oy, a strange fellow patient who compulsively
sniffs found containers, in search of scents past.
P-047 is clearly
intended as a head-scratcher. Even the
appearance of the title digits remains deliberately open to
interpretation. Despite the unwieldiness
of the reality-problematizing later scenes, Jaturanrasmee still hooks viewers
in quite readily. Thai recording artist
Apichai Tragoolpadetgrai is particularly notable expressing Lek’s social
awkwardness and desperate-on-the-inside alienation. In effective contrast, there is something
clearly a little off about Prinya Ngamwongwarn’s Kong.
seems to even lose itself down the stretch.
Nonetheless, the premise is so intriguing and many scattered sequences
are so fascinating, one wants to assume all the pieces add up to something
significant, somehow. That counts for
something. The haunting use of Debussy’s
Ballade and Umpompol Yugala’s icy
cinematography also contribute substantial style points. Selectively recommended for connoisseurs of Thai
film and post-modern cinema, P-047 screens
this Wednesday (6/20) and Sunday (6/24) as an International Showcase selection
of this year’s L.A. Film Fest.
Labels: LAFF '12, Thai Film