Wednesday, April 06, 2011

ME AND MY VIDEO DIARY (Tani Thitiprawat, 30 min, A++++++++++++++++)

What I like very much in this film includes:

1.I think this film is the right combination between home video, political film, and experimental film.

2.This film reveals the poetic side of Tani Thitiprawat, especially in the segment "THE STRONG FAMILIY" and the last segment of the film.

Tani belongs to a group of Thai filmmakers called THE UNDERGROUND OFFICE. I used to think that he might not be as poetically-inclined as the other two members of the group: Teeranit Siangsanoh, who makes extremely poetic films like Derek Jarman; and Wachara Kanha, who is inspired by Wong Kar-wai. But ME AND MY VIDEO DIARY shows that Tani can make poetic films, too.

Other films made by Tani, such as DISAPPEAR (2010, 26 min, A++++++++++), TO WALK NIGHT (2009, 25 min, A++++++++++), and HUNTER THE BAG (2009, 17 min, A+/A), reminds me of Quentin Tarantino, because these three films have crazy plots, and DISAPPEAR and TO WALK NIGHT combine many film genres together. So I'm surprised to find the tender, poetic side of Tani in ME AND MY VIDEO DIARY.

3.The last part of the film is very touching and made me cry. In this part, we can hear the voiceover of a man reading a poem or something like that. A part of this poem is also featured in the film FUENG (2010, Teeranit, Wachara, Tani, 28 min), which is my most favorite film I saw in 2010. The poem is used more fully in ME AND MY VIDEO DIARY.

If I remember it correctly, this poem talks about a man who tries to continue living, tries to continue to be alive, tries to reconcile with the hardship in life and move on.

In this scene, we can also see some footages of the political violence in Bangkok last year. Somehow the combination between the visual (footages of political violence) and the sound (voiceover reading the poem) in this scene yields a very powerful result.

4. In a way, Tani is breaking genre boundaries in this film again. His TO WALK NIGHT is "FUNNY GAMES meets TAXI DRIVER meets 28 DAYS LATER". His DISAPPEAR is "Alfred Hitchcock meets Quentin Tarantino meets Kiyoshi Kurosawa, etc."

In ME AND MY VIDEO DIARY, we see poetic home video. The segment THE STRONG FAMILY shows the life and atmosphere of a family. This segment can stand alone as a powerful film. But its power increases exponentially when it comes after the segment interviewing Khattiya Sawasdipol before he was killed last year.

There is no obvious connection between these two segments. But I like it very much that the segments are juxtaposed like this, because it represents "many parts" of a human being--a human being who loves both his family and politics.

If one makes a film which belongs to only one genre, that film risks representing only one side, or too few sides, of human beings.

The fact that ME AND MY VIDEO DIARY combine "political documentary" genre, "home video" genre, and "poetic experimental film" genre in one film is the reason why this film can present a human being much more fully.

5. Because the segments in ME AND MY VIDEO DIARY are half-connected, half-unconnected, ME AND MY VIDEO DIARY becomes stranger or weirder than many Thai documentaries which deal with the families of the directors. However, the "unconnectedness" between the segments in ME AND MY VIDEO DIARY is not as strong as in Alexander Kluge's films.

Thanks to Reading Room for showing this film on March 26.

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