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Review: Wonderful Town (2007)

Director: Aditya Assarat | 92 minutes | drama, romance | Actors: Anchalee Saisoontorn, Supphasit Kansen,

Ton is the only one in his company who has been willing to supervise a project in a small and deserted coastal town for a number of months and has prepared himself for a few months of peace and simplicity. That is why he moves into a small hotel that has been forgotten by tourism. Ton’s open attitude slowly but surely brings him into contact with Na, the modest but friendly owner of the hotel. At first the contact is hesitant and especially after the boat stops, but with the passage of time and Ton’s persistent attempts at approach, something blossoms between these two misfits.

Director has used the existing town of Takua Pa as the background of this love story. In fact, the town itself is more of a character, it is so emphatically present and plays a role in events. The coastal town was one of the worst hit places by the 2004 tsunami, which has left residents stunned ever since, according to Assarat, especially after rebuilding all the property damage. New roads and houses have failed to lessen the psychological impact. The economy has completely collapsed, tourism has turned its back on the town and many young people are driven by boredom and discontent. They drive around aimlessly on their mopeds, unless there happens to be something going on. In this story that is exactly the case, in the appearance of the arrival of Ton. Na’s little brother White is in charge of a group of criminals; guys who have nothing to do and therefore begrudge everyone else’s happiness. As a result, in addition to the usual precautions and discretion that is expected between them, Ton and Na also have to face the intimidation from White and his mates.

Maybe it’s the director, maybe the actors, or maybe it’s typically Thai, but it’s not often a love story told so subtly and tenderly as in “Wonderful Town”. During the first encounters politeness and innocence predominate and the first kiss seems to take an eternity. The scenes in which Ton and Na finally share the bed are therefore extra special. The won a not undeserved Tiger Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2008, and was praised for its “unusual ending” and its ability to act as a “social mirror” in which the damage caused by the tsunami is depicted in several ways.

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