Directed by Pen-ek Ratanaruang
Official Selection, 2017 Venice Film Festival
Official Selection, 2017 Toronto International Film Festival
SAMUI SONG, Thai New Wave filmmaker Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s latest tortured noir, is a winding road filled with twists, turns, and a dark comedic death embrace with filmmaking. Inspired by Hitchcock, Buñuel, and Thai films from the 90s, Pen-ek has crafted a slow burn film – squarely located in the rarified space of religious cults, rich western expats, and the TV industry.
Viyada, a popular TV actress (played by real life popular TV actress Cherman Boonyasak), is caught in a double-bind. Vi is contractually trapped in a sick marriage to a French millionaire. Almost as bad, she is perennially typecast as the bitch in soap operas. Hovering throughout her world is the Holy One, a slick monk who registers more like a shady kingpin, and attracts wealthy foreign followers at a Thai retreat, including Vi’s husband. Desperate for a change, Vi needs a way out. A chance encounter with Guy, a hit man with a sick mother, gets murderous wheels turning.
Enter Pen-ek, who slowly unravels the classic Double Indemnity scenario with violent, darkly comedic filmmaking, and creates a world full of ceramic phalluses, cinematic winks, Kafkaesque pharmacies, and Samui, an island refuge, where all is not as it seems. –Christina Ree