Thailand | 2015 | 105 mins | Thai | Indian Premiere | Director Attending
In this genre-twisting drama, two Muslim siblings from Bangkok—Laila and Zugood—together with Zugood’s friend Toy, drive through the conflict-ridden southern Thai province of Pattani to visit a long-lost aunt. The trio’s cosmopolitan banter soon falls away as Toy questions whether Laila should be wearing a veil, radio and internet broadcasts describe separatist and terrorist conflicts back in Bangkok and down south, and a naked, chained woman appears to run across the road in front of their car. During the thousand-kilometer journey, Toy reveals his latent fear of the unfamiliar. The atmosphere tenses further as the military presence in Pattani becomes more prounounced. Following a visit to an unfinished mosque, the group is joined by Surin, a motorcyclist who guides them towards their completely unimagined, extraordinary destination. The Island Funeral artfully mixes elements of the road-movie and mystery-thriller genres with a delicate contemplation of gender and ethnicity.
Pimpaka Towira was born in 1967 and studied film at Thammasat University in Bangkok. She became the first female Thai filmmaker to be noticed by international critics with her successful feature debut One Night Husband (2003). Pimpaka has also written, directed and produced several experimental shorts, as well as the documentary feature Truth Be Told: The Cases Against Supinya Klangnarong (2007). In 2014, she co-founded Mosquito Films, a sales and festival distribution company based in Thailand. “The Island Funeral is not a film about the conflict and violent situation of the southern Thai border,” Pimpaka says, “and not a story of any group of persons in particular. It is film about everybody who is looking for their ideal world amidst the conflicts of the internal clash in their past and memories.”