Saturday, March 22, 2014

GRANDMA (2014, Kasiti Sangkul, A+30)

GRANDMA (2014, Kasiti Sangkul, A+30)
You can watch this film here:
GRANDMA makes me think about the following things:
1.I want to screen this film together with the films of Rouzbeh Rashidi, Taiki Sakpisit, and Tanatchai Bandasak, because I like the haunting atmosphere and the poetic quality in GRANDMA very much. It reminds me of some of the films made by Rashidi, Taiki, and Tanatchai, such as ZOETROPE (2011, Rouzbeh Rashidi), I DID NOT DREAM LAST NIGHT (2008,Taiki Sakpisit), and ENDLESS RHYME (2008, Tanatchai Bandasak). These films are very haunting and poetic, too.
 GRANDMA also reminds me of some of their films because the haunting and poetic aspects of GRANDMA are made from “documentary-like” footage, not from “weird fictional world” like in the films of David Lynch.
2.I particularly like the first five minutes of GRANDMA very much, or the scenes before we see people attending the funeral, because the first half of the film makes me feel “wonderfully disorientated”. During these first five minutes, I feel a little bit lost, but in a good way. In the first five minutes of this film, we see scenes which are not obviously connected to one another. I didn’t know at first how these scenes are connected, what they would lead to, what I would see next, what the film would tell us or show us. I was not sure about the time, the space, the identity of the people in the film, the meaning of what I saw, the reasons why these scenes were edited like this, etc.
I like this kind of feelings very much. I call it the feeling of “disorientation”, but I’m not sure if I use the right English word. Hahaha. The first half of GRANDMA pleases me very much, because it makes me feel wonderfully disorientated like PHENOMENON (2012, Teeranit Siangsanoh), SWEETHEART GARDEN (2009, Tanatchai Bandasak), or TAKE THE 5:10 TO DREAMLAND (1976, Bruce Conner). All these films show us scenes which are not obviously connected to one another, and all of them make me feel sublime and great in an unexplainable way.
However, the excitement was decreased a little bit in the second half of GRANDMA. In the second half, we observe people who attend a funeral. I began to understand what the film is all about. I didn’t feel lost about the time, the space, and the identity of the people in the film any more. I began to understand the scenes in the first half. The feeling of “wonderful disorientation” is gone.
I still like the second half of GRANDMA very much. I think it is very good, though it is not as exciting as the first half of the film. I like to observe people’s faces, behaviours, and gestures in the second half. In conclusion, what I like in the first half of the film is how the filmmaker poetically edited all the scenes together. What I like in the second half of the film is how the filmmaker observes human beings.
3.I really really like the last scene of the film, though I’m not sure why. It touches me in an unexplainable way. It also unintentionally reminds me of the feelings I have when I saw some films by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa. There are some simple scenes of nature included in the films of Apichatpong and Wiwat, but these deceptively simple scenes somehow make me feel very sublime.
I don’t know the meaning of the last scene of GRANDMA. Does the filmmaker want to say something about his grandma or about life in general? I don’t know. But the last scene unintentionally makes me think about my own poor life. In the last scene, we see a cow or an ox or a buffalo enjoying eating some grass near a small quiet river, and we also hear a Thai folk song. But what is important for me is that this animal is tied by a rope. The animal seems to enjoy its own simple life, but it is not free. It cannot go very far. That’s why the last scene unintentionally makes me think about my own poor life. I want to go abroad to attend many film festvals, etc. But I am too poor to do that. So what I can do is trying as best as I can to enjoy my simple life here in Bangkok. Maybe life is always like this—it can be happy in a way, but it will never be perfect. Happiness and unhappiness exist in the same moment, like eating grass in a wonderful atmosphere while still being tied by a rope.
Kasiti Sangkul also directed A POSTERIORI (2012, A+30).

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