Friday, January 02, 2015

CHAYANIN TIANGPITAYAGORN REVIEWS "A HARBOUR TOWN"


Chayanin Tiangpitayagorn wrote about A HARBOUR TOWN in Thai. So I translated his review into English here:

A HARBOUR TOWN (2013, Dean Kavanagh, Ireland)
A++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

There are some moments in this film (actually nearly half of the film) which make the film resembles a mystery-detective movie, because the character whom I assumed the protagonist of the film seems to change his face and hairstyle all the time, as if he is a detective or a spy, or as if the film was made in a twelve-year period like BOYHOOD, because in one scene his face looks clean, but in another scene he wears a moustache; in one scene he wears glasses, in another scene his hair grows longer and its color has changed. I just realized later that this is not the same character, but they look like each other very much, because they are siblings in real life.

Though I misunderstood about this thing, the film still has other elements which resemble a detective movie, especially the middle-eastern character (I guess this character is played by Rouzbeh Rashidi) who seems to come to search for something in an empty builiding. He also looks out from the rooftop filled with bird droppings and records what is happening out there with his camera. Similarly, the protagonist goes to a harbour town, venturing into a forest, meeting other characters, and receiving something. But when the audience sees the protagonist smoking, the audience will never know what he is thinking about, whom he is thinking about, or what he is looking for.

Maybe we don’t have to focus on the story of this film, because the film has no dialogues. (Though we can see that the characters are speaking in some scenes, we cannot hear them, and we don’t even know who these characters are.) The owner of the most prominent sound in this film is the nature—the sound of water, wind, rain, flocks of birds, or the storm which rages through the harbour town. The nature devours all the atmosphere and living things in this film and makes them become a part of the story of sound and light.

The last part of the film seems like a game of haunted ghosts, which puts people inside a haunted house or an enclosed dark space which has very few light sources, in order to search for some truths or to solve a mystery. But in this film we don’t know what the mystery is or who the owner of the mystery is. We don’t even know if we should solve the mystery or not. There is one scene in this film which is extremely scary, though there is a very bright sunshine in this scene. It is as if the film has become a zombie film for 15 seconds before it returns to the previous state.

In conclusion, while we are watching this film, we may feel as if we are thrown into a mysterious harbour town with a small population. We meet a few inhabitants of the town, who live under the control of the story of sound of light. There may be some mysteries, may be not. Even if there are some mysteries, we are not sure if we should solve them or not. We don’t even know how well these townspeople know one another.