Apr 29, 2010

indie rawkus- Nymph

9:25 AM

It was back in 2004 when I was first amazed by the work of Pen-ek Ratanaruang- with his now indie classic, The Last Life in the Universe [Ruang Rak Noi Nid Mahasan].  His unorthodox, slow rhythm but immersive narratives had me captivated and thinking there was actually more to love out there in--atmospheric storytelling than just Wong Kar Wai.

Fast forward to now.

Sadly, I missed the first week of the San Francisco Film Festival or just SFiFF53, thanks to Bali but was overjoyed when flipping through the program guide and finding Pen-ek's latest work- Nymph [Nang Mai].

After running over to the SFiFF media office, I was able to score a press pass to view the final showing of the flick and well, skip the lines...don't hate!

The theatre was about as filled up as expected and thankfully my solo effort scored me the ever-elusive, middle of the row spot.

From the wondrous, opening that is hallmark Pen-ek-- taking us through a lush forest in Thailand in that POV-kinda way-- that tugs at the voyeur inside of all of us, making you hone in on all of his subtle stylings. 

Courtesy of San Francisco Film Society

Like that of in The Last Life in the Universe-- the actors silence, understated movements and eerie entrapments in their isolated worlds-- tells more of the story than the minimalistic dialogue.  Viewers not familiar with Pen-ek's works can fall into stereotyping Nymph into just another Asian-horror flick waiting to be remade in Hollywood.

That is so not the case.

Nymph plays off of the innate horror of feeling vulnerable in nature, pushing the characters and us movie-lovers into the blurry states of not knowing what is really happening.  Pen-ek's suspense/thriller evokes a spine-tingling, Hitchcock-numbing effect as he pulled off so effortlessly in Invisible Waves-- using a haunted ghostship, or in this case an ancient tree (spirit/nymph) to make us reflect on our own relationships with nature, our lovers and ourselves.

Look out for this gem at your local indie video shop or borrow a friend's universal player to catch it now.

This post was written by:
big O
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