Jul 19, 2012|
A first independent production from one of Bangkok veteran directors Kongdej Jaturanrasamee, P-047 was premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year and finally arrives in Bangkok theatres this month. Unlike his previous production that earned Kongdej the title of “The King of Romance,” this intriguing art house film offers a minimal narrative that explores the concept of personal identity while blurring the lines between what we can and can’t believe.
A young outgoing, Kong (Parinya Ngamwongwan) quits his job in film production to become a bookseller. There he meets the introverted and lonely Lek (Apichai Trakulpadejkrai) who works as a locksmith. When Kong, who dreams of becoming a writer, discovers that Lek can pick any lock, the pair of them start breaking into rooms during the day, not to steal anything but to learn more about how other people live their lives. On one such escapade they get caught and get into a fight with the owner. Lek wakes up alone in a hospital but finds everyone is calling him Kong and has to try and unravel just who he really is.
While this synopsis seems relatively straightforward the actual movie is anything but. The timeline for these events is twisted and broken, taking a similar style to Pen-Ek’s Headshot from last year. However, while Headshot lets you eventually figure out the narrative arc, every scene in P-047 is just an isolated piece of a jigsaw. By intention, the director Kongdej encourages the audience to complete the picture by themselves, blurring the lines between truth and fiction to create an almost dream like effect.
Clearly this does not create a tear-jerking romantic drama like Kongdej’s previous work as a writer on The Letter or Happy Birthday. But if you don’t come expecting love and laughs then this charming film impresses thanks to the understated and natural acting by lead actors Lek and Off, the warmth and colors of the cinematography, the impressive soundtrack by Lek but above else that fact it’s a film that forces you think, all too rare in cinemas these days.