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Shown in the Moving Ahead[1] section during the 72nd edition of Locarno Film Festival, Krabi, 2562 is a picture that effectively heals the regret after New Horizons Film Festival which ended less than a week ago. The result of the cooperation of the Briton, Ben Rivers (The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers, NH16) and Thai, Anocha Suwichakornpong (By the Time It Gets Dark, NH17 and Grand Prix for Mundane History during NH10) – modest though awarded artists known to Polish festival audiences – is an interdisciplinary work.

The autothematic thread (the act of filming) smoothly passes into the documentary,  creators collaborating with the local community, and the story of the beginnings of homo sapiens mixes with the experience of modern tourism – both local (the girl following the trail of her parents’ love) and postcolonial (the couple tourists from the United States who can only get along in their own language). Temporality is also non-linear – memories are woven into the present, and the past and unclear future bear the hallmarks of the same, almost magical place, the Thai island of Krabi.

Locarno – press materials

The ragged, plucked plot, dividing the unity of space, suggests that this picturesque island – not a story about a Thai tourist, not local residents, telling stories about old life, or not even nature: caves, rocks, sea, oral myths gaining life on the screen – is the main character of the film. Krabi, 2562 is a movie that would like to hypnotize, but does not give viewers time, because it requires intellectual effort. The work of Ben Rivers and Anocha Suwichakornpong is a commentary on the shallowness of modern tourism, personal, ordinary human memories bearing the hallmarks of an intimate anthropogenic myth, as well as a kind of manifesto about what contemporary cinema should look like.

According to the creators, contemporary cinema should blur the boundaries between reality and fiction, between history, present and future. Krabi 2562 is another attempt – since the dawn of cinema the artists have tried to break the border between artificial and real experience – using the medium to create a new reality being as false as well as true. It is up to us, viewers, if we will be fooled.

If someone asked me what this movie is about, I would probably have a hard time describing it. Well, in a sense Krabi 2562 is not even a story, a storytelling, mythological act of transferring knowledge, but about experience. As in most of this type of images, it is difficult to say whether the spread between one genre and another, between the viewer’s lead by the promise of linear history and the hypnotic encouragement of contemplative cinema is effective. Krabi 2562 seems to be a prelude to a larger work rather than an independent, mature entity. The only thought left is that feeling of unfulfillment can be intentional fun, as satisfying as bathing in a Thai sea – full of meanings.

[1] Previously, the section was called Signs of Life, and was renamed in honor of Jonas Mekas, who died in January this year. The name refers to the title of one of the director’s most recognizable works, As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty. The section’s task is to show films that expand the cinema experience and horizons of modern cinema, as well as those that develop a new language of film. In this sense, the tasks of the section are convergent with Wroclaw’s New Horizons Film Festival.

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Mateusz Tarwacki

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Laura Przybylska
Laura Przybylska