2011, colour, 16:9, 95 mins
Directed by Kongdej Jaturanrasmee (คงเดช จาตุรันต์รัศมี)
By Derek Elley
Wed, 14 December 2011, 23:55 PM (HKT)
Initially intriguing idea about two housebreakers wilfully loses its audience midway. Festivals.
Thailand, the present day. Kongkiat (Prinya Ngamwongwarn) and Lek (Apichai Tragoolpadetgrai) break into people's flats while they are out at work and "borrow their lives" for a few hours. Kongkiat's one rule is that they should never steal anything and always leave the premises as they were. The two met when Kongkiat, a wannabe writer who worked for a time on continuity in the film industry, was minding a magazine stall opposite Lek's small locksmith's business. Hearing Lek's boast that he could crack any lock, Kongkiat proposed the idea of "borrowing" people's flats. One day they break into an apartment owned by a gay guy, Tana (Nastnathakit Intarasut), who is still upset about his onetime lover, Ek (Teepisit Mahaneeranon), getting married. When Kongkiat has some fun sending provocative messages to Ek on Tana's computer, Tana ends up coming back unexpectedly. In the resulting panic there's a tragic accident. Then one day Lek wakes up in a hospital room, after an accident in a forest, and the nurses all call him by Kongkiat's name.
The unpredictable Kongdej JATURANRASMEE คงเดช จาตุรันต์รัศมี — whose career has ranged from writing mainstream movies (Tom-Yum-Goong ต้มยำกุ้ง (2005), Me...Myself ขอให้รักจงเจริญ (2007)) to directing the entertaining Sayew สยิว (2003) and weird Handle Me With Care กอด (2008), about a three-armed man — takes a detour into pure festival fare with P-047 แต่เพียงผู้เดียว (2011). Slightly reminiscent in tone of the more abstruse movies of Pen-ek RATANARUANG เป็นเอก รัตนเรือง (Ploy พลอย (2007)) and Aditya ASSARAT อาทิตย์ อัสสรัตน์ (Hi-So ไฮโซ (2010)), but marginally more playful, it starts off with an interesting idea and then deliberately confounds its audience on every level.
The idea of two losers — wannabe writer Kongkiat and locksmith-cum-petty criminal Lek — breaking into people's homes and "borrowing" the owners' lives for a couple of hours is at least intriguing, and there's a dry sense of humour in the early stages as they sit around drinking wine or listening to music before leaving as quietly as they came. The underlying tension that they could be surprised at any moment is ramped up during an episode in a gay guy's flat, when Kongkiat, on a whim, starts a deliberately provocative computer conversation with the owner's ex-lover — a wilful act that goes beyond just passively "borrowing" the man's life. The consequences are dramatic — but then, halfway through the movie, Jaturanrasmee suddenly starts to deconstruct any emotional involvement the audience may have built up to that point.
There's some irony in the character of Kongkiat having worked in film continuity: his experience is useful in the pair always removing every trace of their presence, but continuity is the one thing the movie perversely ignores thereon. Characters appear and disappear, time becomes disjointed, and even Lek's identity is questioned as he wakes up in a hospital and the nurses call him Kongkiat. Jaturanrasmee seems to be challenging the audience to construct a narrative of its own to make sense of what it's being presented with. That's possible to a certain extent. But is the effort worth it? Alas, no.
Like its unexplained English title, P-047 is an intellectual game with no point, a potentially interesting idea of losers "borrowing" people's lives but ending up even more rudderless. As a short, half its length, it could have worked. What remains is some immaculate, purposefully composed photography, dry performances by its cast of non-professionals (apart from a cameo at the end by TV actress/host Kahnungnij "Rotmay" JAKSAMITHANONT คะนึงนิจ จักรสมิทธานนท์), and a hope that this is just a one-off experiment by Jaturanrasmee.
ContactSales: Song Sound, Bangkok (email@example.com)
Premiere: Venice Film Festival (Orizzonti), 8 Sep 2011. Theatrical release: TBA.
Produced by Song Sound (TH). Executive producers: Pattraporn Jaturanrasmee, Suthirat Yoovidhya, Pannarai Phaholyotin. Producers: Soros Sukhum, Kongdej Jaturanrasmee.
Script: Kongdej Jaturanrasmee. Photography: Umpornpol Yugala. Editing: Manussa Vorasingha, Kamontorn Eakwattanakij. Music: Chaibundit Peuchponsub, Apichet Kambhu. Art direction: Rasiguet Sookkarn, Parinda Moongmaiphol. Costume design: Cattleya Phaosrijareon. Sound: Teekadech Vucharadhanin, Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr, Traithep Wongpaiboon.
Cast: Apichai Tragoolpadetgrai (Lek), Prinya Ngamwongwarn (Kongkiat), Khanungnij "Rotmay" Jaksamithanont (woman with umbrella), Wanarat Kaiyasit (Oy, the hospital patient), Margot Chung (Nook, Kongkiat's girlfriend), Nastnathakit Intarasut (Tana), Teepisit Mahaneeranon (Ek), Chintana Sapahusolsanti (Kong's mother), Boonsong Waesongnern (Tong's uncle), Sirichit Jitthawonkul, Kitirat Vachirapaet (nurses), Thanapong Somkijrungroj (doctor), Ploypapat Ariyakamoirat (new flat owner), Pornwapa Suratanee (her friend), Weerasak Glunrawd (Kong's father).