Monday, May 07, 2012

Three films of Barameerut Jantarasriwongs

Three films of Barameerut Jantarasriwongs

1.OAD (1998, Barameerut Jantarasriwongs, no English subtitles, 12 min, A+10)                                                

2.WATER (2000, Barameerut Jantarasriwongs, no subtitles needed, 12 min, A+10)

3.THE WORLD IS NOT OURS (2003, Barameerut Jantarasriwongs, with English subtitles, 8 min, A+10)

There are some Thai short films that I like very much in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, especially the films of Samart Imkham, Montree Saelo, and Barameerut Jantarasriwongs. I feel very sad that these great filmmakers haven't made new films lately, but I feel very glad to discover that three out of four short films of Barameerut are available on Youtube now, though BREATHE (1999, 30 min, A+30), which is my most favorite film of his, is not available on Youtube yet.

If I remember it correctly, I like BREATHE very much because it deals effectively with the hardship and the struggles of Thai people after the economic crisis in 1997. There are many Thai short films made in the late 1990s which deal with this topic, but I think BREATHE is one of the best. It is very easy for me to understand the pain of the characters in BREATHE, and that's why I like BREATHE the most among Barameerut's four films, because the other three films of his seem to have some philosophical aspects, which make the films a little bit more difficult for me to understand, but these philosophical aspects make the films interesting and thought-provoking.

Among these three films, I think THE WORLD IS NOT OURS is the most thought-provoking, while WATER is the easiest to understand. There are many questions left in my mind after I watch THE WORLD IS NOT OURS, for example:

1. The film is partly in black-and-white, and partly in color. Why?

2.The film is a little bit self-reflexive. It tells the story of a guy who tries to commit suicide, but a mysterious man tries to intervene, but ends up murdering the suicidal guy. The story is interrupted from time to time by some scenes which emphasize that what you see is a film or a staged scene. Why? Does it mean that some suicides or some murders in reality are "staged" or a show for the audience (general people)?

3.A few things in the film may or may not be symbols, such as the Harvard T-shirt, the Godfather poster, the zooming in on the letter UN in the word TUNER on the radio, the scene of some mechanical things near a bridge, etc.

4.The role of the woman in this film is really thought-provoking. Why does she cry? Why does she ignore the corpse? Does she symbolize general people who are obsessed with only their own problems?

OAD is also thought-provoking. If I understand it correctly, it tells the story of a blind man who pretends to keep on reading, telephoning, and working as a photographer. The message at the end of the film seems to indicate that the film is about how to experience things with your mind, instead of just with your eyes. But I don't think I understand this film completely.

WATER seems to explore some kinds of water in our lives, such as semen (which we were born from), drinking water, sweat, and urine. The film may also be about the various containers of water, such as bottles, plastic bags, water cooler tanks, and condoms. But I think the film may be more than that. I think the film may concern some philosophy about life, too.

Things I like very much in OAD include:

1.How the film tells something by the panning of the camera or by letting us observe the picture, instead of having the audience speak about it. The panning of the camera lets us see that the telephone may be connected to nothing. We can also notice that there is a camera on the desk of the blind man.

2.How OAD uses a clip from WINGS OF DESIRE (1987, Wim Wenders) in a meaningful way. The clip which is used in OAD is from a scene in which a little girl can see the angel who is invisible to the adults' eyes. This scene fits very well with OAD which may be about how to "see" things with our minds.

Things I like very much in WATER include:

1.Like in OAD, the panning of the camera in WATER lets us observe some important things by ourselves. In WATER, we can see that there are many plugs used in the same spot in a room, which may be the cause of the blackout.

2.How the film deals with the darkness. The film seems to find the right balance between what the character sees (which I guess is much darker than what the audience sees) and what the viewers should see. The scene cannot be realistically dark, because the viewers will see almost nothing in that case. I like it very much that we can still see the color of the urine in a water cooler tank in this supposedly dark scene.

3.The sound of the ticking clock. I like this kind of sound very much at night.

4.The use of static camera when we observe the character sleeping for several minutes

5.The use of the camera as the eyes of the characters for a few moments

6.The ending credits are a little bit funny. I think the director wants to use the whole song of YOU GOT IT, but the ending credits are too short, so he repeated the ending credits to fit the duration of the song.

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