Thailand | 2002 | 121min | DCP | COLOR | Drama | World Music
A pastoral love story between a young man and woman. The first half of 〈Mon-rak Transistor〉 is filled with lyrical scenes of Thailand’s pristine landscapes which presents itself as a blessed paradise. This paradise turns into a nightmare when Pan joins the army leaving the pregnant Sadaw behind. Pan wins second place in the military song contest, which inspires him to become a deserter and head for Bangkok to become a singer. Clearly, 〈Mon-rak Transistor〉 is a film about the conflicts between the country and the city. Exploited and miserable, Pan’s demise in the big city is depicted through the dark images of the night in contrast to the bright images of Pan’s life in the country. When Pan finally makes it on the stage, he wins the enthusiastic approval of the crowd. But his happiness is short-lived when he ends up murdering his gay boss who attempts to seduce him. The rich landscapes and the musical-like scenes enhance the conventional but insightful narrative that explores the extreme clash between tradition and modernity in contemporary Thailand. (Lee Sang-yong)
Born in 1962, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang is a Thai film director and screenwriter. He is best known for his art-house work, Last Life in the Universe, and is considered to be one of Thai cinema's leading ‘new wave’ auteurs, alongside Wisit Sasanatieng and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. He made his debut with Fun Bar Karaoke, which was screened at many festivals after its première in Berlin. His third feature film, Mon-rak Transistor also premiered at the Directorsʼ Fortnight event at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.