This episodic pearl is part fiction, part documentary and part pseudo-documentary, with all of these parts cleverly interwoven into one narrative. Apichatpong Weerasethakul and his crew travel through Thailand from north to south, stopping here and there at anonymous places. In the different villages and towns they pass through, the director has local people continue the story of a handicapped boy and his teacher. Among the storytellers are food merchants, a boxer addicted to television, a devout female police officer and a lonely rubber-tree peeler. The locals are allowed to speak in their own words, with total freedom. At the same time, in several shots, Weerasethakul sketches suggestive smaller narratives from the private lives of his characters. He shows them in their daily lives, yet with a keen eye for the resilience and creativity with which they live out their individual fates. A more or less fictionalized reality appears layer after layer and Weerasethakul not only masters the complex storylines of his film, but also succeeds in giving his cinematic patchwork a consistent emotional depth.
Miryam van Lier