Comments by Wong Lung Hsiang
Director: Pen-ek Ratanaruang
Writing Credits: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Wat Wanlayangkoon
Cast: Supakom Kitsuwon, Siriyakom Pukkavesh, Black Phomtong, Somlek Sakdikul, Porntip Papanai
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Year Released: 2001
Runtime: 90 min (France 119 min)
I agree with my friend who saw Monrak Transistor at the Bangkok Film Festival in Jan 2003. He said that while it is definitely commercial, it is nevertheless "bloody good." Except for the first 25 minutes or so, the film is essentially a melodrama. Fortunately it is very well-crafted, and moreover, it constantly foils my attempts to predict how the plot will unravel. In the run-of-the-mill formulaic melodramas, I am usually surprisingly good in my predictions. But in Monrak Transistor, four out of my five guesses were wrong!
However, the most amazing part of the film is the prologue. Until the point when the voice-over says, "If that's the end of the story, it would be a charming short film ... and you can smile your way to the exit now. But ... " the film might have been just that.
Yes, it is indeed a charming short film ... like Kusturica (minus the magical realism). But the use of colors, the camera movements, the humor, the weird behavior of the characters, the messy set decoration, the use of animals as props ... you name it, all these transform the film into a pleasant treat. I am not a fan of romantic comedy, but in this instance, I am won over, and highly recommend this film.