The Island Funeral AKA a road trip to visit your aunt that possibly smoked up way too much and live in an Island near Pattani.
I love art films, sometime I don't really understand them and I have to watch it over and over again to get it, even then there's no guarantee that I'd understand it but in this case after my first time watching this film. I'd say that this film can be shrunk down to a much shorter film without losing anything at all.
After 2/3 of the film spent in the car with our three main protagonists who sorta establish each individual's perspective on the situation down south where bombing happens ever so often. We didn't really do much other than following guy on a bike who doesn't really talk (I do understand that it's a film and it's a work of fiction but ffs, people do talk in real life, including this dude, I don't care how introvert you are but man if you pull out a smoke and sit next to some people who you're leading to this long lost village, I'm sure you'll have a yarn about something, even what you had for breakfast or what kinda smoke do you like)
I felt as if the 2/3 of the film could have been building up this tension which could have been accumulated over time then resolve on the dining table at the end of the film i.e. the bit where the director felt that after all these time let's talk about what the film is all about by semi shoving down your throat ideology she believes in.
The next big thing is the over used of the dolly track. This movement wasted a lot of time by trucking right or left then slowly pan and then come back again and out again. I understand that the director loves this movement but I think the purpose of this kinda movement is to build suspense and holding out this tension before revealing whatever you want to reveal and pay off the audience for sticking with this lingering camera movement but most of the time, it felt flat and didn't reveal anything worth spending all those time on at all.
The acting and dialogue felt stiff and rigid, for a film that strives to be as grounded as possible, every time each character opens their mouth I was pulled out of the suspension of belief and notice that they are actors. I guess by going for that subtle and minimalist approach of filmmaking i.e. not so flashy cut cut cut but rather long take with hardly any seasoning to the film both visually and audibly, you'll end up having to make god damn sure that each words coming out of your mouth has to damn good otherwise it'll be too easy to spot for bad writing.
Some might have enjoyed this film and it surely did its job, by raising awareness regarding the situation of the 3 southern provinces to the audience to think about.
Even though I did not enjoy it as much as I wanted to (how long can a dead body travel through a village? how about the whole third act?) I'd encourage you to go see this film.
This film is much better than majority of Thai films that hit the theatre this past few years. Support our Thai filmmakers!!
We need these kinda films so our industry can escape this fucked up ghost/comedy film orbit and shoot out into the realm of awesome films.
The Island funeral is now showing at SF Central world.