Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mah Nakorn (Citizen Dog)

Thoroughly enjoyable, Citizen Dog tells the slight story of Pod, a country bumpkin and a romantic without a dream, newly arrived in Bangkok. His unusual adventures unfold in a series of titled vignettes, along with those of his unusual acquaintances. First we meet Jin, object of Pod’s tender affections, obsessed with cleaning and with a book with white covers in a language she cannot understand that fell at her feet from a spectacularly (digital) plummeting aeroplane. Yod is Pod’s best friend and “finger buddy” following an incident at the sardine cannery where they work, and others include Kong, the ghost motorcycle taxi driver, and Baby Mam, 22 years in the body of a 13 year old, with her constant (and constantly smoking) companion, the animate teddy bear Thomchong.

Although necessarily episodic, the whole is weaved together by a warm good humour, a terrific and almost constant music track, insanely vibrant colour schemes, and the wonderfully everyday surrealism that is the film’s beating heart, most touching in the mountain of plastic bottles that reaches to the moon, and most amusingly unsettling in the reincarnation of Pod’s grandmother as a gecko. The first half is uproarious, but the pace flags (Pod’s brief celebrity for being the only person in Bangkok without a tail falls resolutely flat). The natural inconsequentiality of the picaresque structure is reinforced by the ironic detachment of the bone-dry voiceover (by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang) and by the heightened non-realism of the alternate world of the film; but the former is amusing, the latter engagingly weird enough, and Pod so unfailingly good-natured, that charm, romanticism and sheer oddity win out.

d Wisit Sasanatieng p Aphiradee Iamphungporn, Charoen Iamphungporn, Kiatkamon Iamphungporn, Rewat Vorarat sc Wisit Sasanatieng ph Rewat Prelert ed Polarat Kitikunpairoj, Dusanee Puinongpho ad Suras Kardeeroj m Amornpong Methakunawut cast Mahasamut Boonyaruk, Saengthong Gate-Uthong, Sawatwong Palakawong Na Autthaya, Chuck Stephens, Raenkum Saninn
(2004, Thailand, 100m)
posted by tom newth at

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