Asia House Pan-Asia Film Festival review: 36

A still from 36 directed by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, which is being screened as part of the Pan-Asia Film Festival

A still from 36 directed by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, which was screened as part of the Pan-Asia Film Festival

Asia House Pan-Asia Film Festival review: 36

26 February 2014

By Marisa Levenson

36 is a Thai film consisting of 36 shots which explores the concept of how fleeting our memories can be if we don’t have photographic evidence of experiences we have had or places we have been.

It follows a young woman, Sai, who is scouting locations for a film shoot and taking numerous photographs to show the production team. Her photos do not just contain the scenery but also images of the art director, Oom, with whom she strikes up a friendship.

Two years later her hard drive has a malfunction and she loses years’ worth of photographs; she only has her memories of the locations and of Oom, who is no longer working on the film and they have lost touch. Sai then revisits the locations but things have changed.

The locations are different from how she remembers them, for example a whole building that used to be there was torn down. It makes one think that the second a photo is taken everything could change – not just appearances and the environment but also feelings. Sai is sad to have lost the photos and the connection to her friend, Oom.

The film is also about missed opportunities, as there seems to be more to the relationship between Sai and Oom than meets the eye, though there is no way for Sai to get back in touch with him.

There are many scenes shot through glass doors or windows, which separate viewers from the action. The movie is quite slow-moving, with a lot of imagery of scenery without many people in the stationary shots. It would appeal to those who enjoy art-house films.

The acoustic music in the film is used sparingly, but cleverly enhances the stark atmosphere. The acting is very naturalistic which helps as there is scarce dialogue to carry the story along.

Most of the story follows Sai’s attempt to recapture the lost photos and vague memories of the past.

Directed by: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit

The film has not been released yet. This is the London premiere. 36 won the main prize, the New Currents award, at the Busan International Film Festival in 2012 where it saw its world premiere.

Starring: Vajrasthira Koramit and Wanlop Rungkamjad

Running Time: 68 mins

Language: in Thai with original language in English

Plot summary: One day film scout Sai’s computer crashes, wiping her hard drive, along with the images that capture an entire year of her life. An intense period of reflection and memory begins.

Type of film: drama

Key selling point of film: scenery
The London premiere of this film was at the Asia House Pan-Asia Film Festival on 1 March at the ICA.