ContactSales: Come On Sweet, Pathumthani, Bangkok ([email protected])
Theatrical release: Thailand, 16 Dec 2010.
Produced by Come On Sweet (TH). Executive producer: Chatchada Musikaratuay. Producer: Bandit Thongdee.
Script: Nepali. Novel: Lalanorn. Photography: Ruengwit Ramasut. Editing: Saranii Wongpan, Chartchai Ketnust, Surasak Panklin. Music: Nimit Jitranon. Production design: Sophon Phoonsawat. Art direction: Nutt Nutvech. Costume design: Ekasit Meepraseartsakul. Sound: Eakawut Suwanhonk, Vorapol Chokprasombat. Visual effects: Kongurit Chittiphatdecha.
Cast: Sucharat "Aom" Manaying (Pie), Suppanad "Tina" Jittaleela (Kim), Arisara "Dew" Thongborisuth (Jane), Sorranat Yupanant (Van, Pie's family friend), Intira Youenyong (Auntie In), Maneerat Wongjirasak (Pie's mother), Puttipong Promsakha Na-Sakolnakorn (Kim's father), Charnwut Promsaka Na-Sakolnakorn (Professor Tao), Wasin Pokpong (security guard), Jiravadee Israngura Na-Ayutthaya (dormitory head), Thanapat Sornkoon (Boy), Narumon Reanaiprai (Nerd), Pongsit Phisitthakarn, Nuttapatch Arunsirisakul, Tantong Funyueang, Watchanan Jitpakdee (boy gang members), Bandit Thongdee (Odd), Sophon Phoonsawat (Jeab).
Yes or No: So, I Love You. Ｙｅｓ ｏｒ Ｎｏ อยากรักก็รักเลย...
Contemporary lesbian romance
2010, colour, 1.85:1, 110 mins
Directed by Saratsawadee Wongsomphat (สรัสวดี วงศ์สมเพ็ชร)
By Derek Elley
Sun, 03 July 2011, 20:00 PM (HKT)
Thailand's first lesbian movie is a cute, teen romance that gets by on ingenuous charm. Gay festivals and niche ancillary.
Bangkok, the present day. To get away from her lesbian roommate Jane (Arisawa "Dew" Thongborisut), girly middle-class college student Pie (Sucharat "Aom" Manaying) switches rooms but ends up sharing with the boyish-looking Kim (Suppanad "Tina" Jittaleela), a farm girl from the countryside who's studying botany. Visiting Pie's new room, Jane, who's just been ditched by her tomboy lover, immediately falls for Kim. Initially, Pie is uncomfortable sharing a room with Kim but gradually warms to her when Kim says she's never had a crush on either a boy or a girl and resents being tagged a "tom" because of her appearance. Slowly, however, Kim becomes very attached to Pie and feels spurned when Van (Sorranat Yupanant) introduces himself as Pie's boyfriend. Pie comforts her by saying Van is just a family friend and the two patch things up. Then Kim asks Pie whether she would still be her friend if Pie found out she liked girls.
Slowly on the heels of gay-male teen movie The Love of Siam รักแห่งสยาม (2007) comes Thailand's first lesbian romance, Yes or No: So, I Love You. Ｙｅｓ ｏｒ Ｎｏ อยากรักก็รักเลย... (2010), a much more path-breaking undertaking in the outwardly permissive but underlyingly very conservative country. Professionally shot on a small, US$400,000 budget, with good-looking photography by d.p. Ruengwit RAMASOOTA เรืองวิทย์ รามสูต and a poppy soundtrack that includes one obvious anthem to gay relationships, the movie is tame even by the standards of other Asian countries but gets by on a simple, ingenuous charm that's both very Thai and very necessary (given the nature of its subject).
On the surface there's not much subtlety about the plot — boyish-looking Kim and girly-looking Pie end up sharing a college dormitory room, and maybe more — and every issue that arises in their slow-burning attraction is spelt out and double-underlined in the script. Kim resents being labelled a "tom" (Thai slang for butch lesbian) just because of her look, and claims she's asexual but straight; Pie, the product of a conservative, upper-middle-class family, is put off by Kim's appearance and even uses red tape to divide up their room — a "line" that is significantly "crossed" when she decides to push their beds together. On an adult level, there's the conservative character of Pie's mother and the liberal one of coffee-shop owner Auntie In, who urges Kim to acknowledge and go with her feelings. So far, so conventional.
The movie's subtlety is more in the way the script leaves the issue of sexual attraction blurred in the first half — especially in the case of Kim, who in 19-year-old newcomer Suppanad "Tina" JITTALEELA ศุภนาฎ จิตตลีลา's low-key performance gives no clues about her precise sexuality, which may indeed be still floating in a very teenage way. And on Pie's side, there's always a feeling that the character is more into giving-it-a-go than being a convinced lesbian — an aspect brought out by the natural performance of the more experienced Sucharat "Aom" MANAYING สุชารัตน์ มานะยิ่ง (Pai in Love ปายอินเลิฟ (2009)), who forges a genuine screen chemistry with the more awkward Jittaleela. None of this makes Yes or No especially deep, but the film doesn't pretend to be anything more than a frothy, commercial movie tapping into forbidden territory.
First-time director Saratsawadee WONGSOMPHET สรัสวดี วงศ์สมเพ็ชร certainly knows how to tease her audience, with lots of knowing looks between the two leads, who don't even hold hands till the 55-minute mark or get to anything more serious until 70 minutes in. But that, too, is part and parcel of the film's charm. There's also considerable humour: from Arisara "Dew" TONGBORISUTH อริสรา ทองบริสุทธิ์'s scarcely believable lesbian drama queen, through a brief but witty cameo by Puttipong Promsaka NA SAKOLNAKORN พุฒิพงศ์ พรหมสาขา ณ สกลนคร (co-director of super-hit A Crazy Little Thing Called Love สิ่งเล็กๆ ที่เรียกว่า..รัก (2010)) as Kim's devil-may-care vintner father, to Narumon Reanaiprai's geeky female student. It's Reanaiprai, who spends most of the movie silent, who gets the script's funniest, laugh-out-loud line.