Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
NYAFF ’16: Heart Attack
only benefit Assanai “Yoon” Srisiri gets through his freelance design work is
more work (but he’ll take it). Fortunately, the public hospital is reasonably affordable
and the dermatology resident is pretty cute. Of course, you can’t put the moves
on your doctor, especially if you’re not following her advice. Eventually, Srisiri
will have to make some life decisions, such as whether he wants to have one in
Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s Heart Attack
Freelance, trailer here), which screens
during the 2016 New York Asian Film Festival.
is on his fourth straight day without sleep—or is it his fifth? He is the Jedi
Master of Thai freelance design, abetted by his agent, Je, who is also largely
his only human contact. At least his buddy Kai often works the graveyard shift
at 7-11, so they also see each other quite regularly. Not surprisingly, this
lifestyle takes a toll on Srisiri’s health. Frankly, he is probably lucky it is
only the rashes breaking out over his body, at least thus far.
Imm prescribes sleep, exercise, and a healthier diet, but Srisiri is reluctant
to comply, fearing any slowdown in his productivity will cost him his
hard-earned reputation. Yet, he also wants to show improvement for Dr. Imm,
whom he has developed a confused patient crush. Naturally, his health and
romantic issues come to a head just when his freelance career reaches a
crossroads, because that really is how things happen in real life.
of all, it should be noted Thai 7-11 food looks shockingly delicious,
particularly the shrimp dumplings on a stock. Beyond that, Heart Attack is an unusually subtle and mature rom-com. Frankly, it
is neither particularly romantic or comedic, but Thamrongrattanarit maintains
such a light touch, you can’t really classify it as anything else.
befits the ambiguity of their relationships, Sunny Suwanmethanon’s Srisiri develops
some wonderfully sensitive but difficult to define chemistry with both Davika
Hoorne and Thai pop idol Violette Wautier as Dr. Imm and Je, respectively. Hoorne
subtly hints at the messy emotions contained beneath her aloof professionalism,
while the sardonic Wautier often acts a welcome corrective to Srisiri’s moody
brooding. Frankly, they both might just upstage the Suwanmethanon’s neurotic Srisiri.
Attack also probably rings a
generational bell in Thailand and greater Southeast Asia, but it won’t have
such resonance here. Instead of navel-gazing and voting for free stuff, Srisiri
and Peng (the rival biting at his heels) work like dogs. Arguably, American Gen
X’ers will better identify with it than Millennials. Yet, even if viewers
cannot relate personally, the smart, charismatic performances are still
immediately engaging. Highly recommended, Heart
Attack (a.k.a. Freelance) screens tonight (7/3) at the Walter Reade, as
part of this year’s NYAFF.
Labels: NYAFF '16, Thai Film