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Seasons Change : A Film for Any Season
 

Sorradithep Supachanya champ@thaicinema.org

 

28 August 2006

   
 

 

Poets have alluded to the weather when talking about womens precarious moods, but director Nithiwat Tharathorn likens a teenagers heart to seasonal uncertainties in his excellent first solo effort, Seasons Change. This coming-of-age tale tells a story about a high school boy named Pom (Witawat Singlampong) and his self-discovery through his choices between Dao (Yuwanat Arayanimisakul), his crush, and Aom (Chutima Teepanat), his best friend, and between rock n roll, in which he has a bright future, and classical music, in which he pursues just to be near his object of affection. The story is clearly clich?d and the title hopelessly unoriginal (it shares the title with one of the most popular, and overplayed, Thai songs in the countrys pop music history); yet, with the directors brilliant mix of picturesque landscape, beautiful music, and plenty of harmless humor, Seasons Change turns out fresh, sweet, and heartwarmingly enjoyable.

Set in the Bangkok s bucolic suburb, the director regularly exploits its tranquility and verdant scenery to the films advantage. Pom and Aom must feel like having the whole world to themselves in a number of outdoor scenes, which contain only two characters against a panoramic shot of the nature. Such components can make an ordinary action like Aom giving Pom her favorite highlighter near a serene lake appear romantic. Imagine how the films emotions can be further augmented if Bangkok has four distinct seasons like places in the temperate climate.

If the scenery and romance are not enough to enhance the mood, the films classical and rock music will surely do. However, as Seasons Change is targeted at the younger generation, rock gets the front position and the younger audience will be excited by cameo appearances of Boyd Kosiyabong, the songwriter of Seasons Change, and Asanee Pom Chotikul, a legendary rock musician after whom Nithiwat names his lead character.

The film always manages to draw smiles and laughter from the audience, with such touching scenes like the one in which Pom juggles between his timpani and Aoms cymbals when she has sneaked to the restroom during an orchestra rehearsal. The film is also unafraid of dropping scores of harmless humor to entertain the viewers from beginning to end; most of which come from the hilarious and scene-stealing supporting cast, such as Yano Kazuki (whom we last saw in Metrosexual) and Panisara Pimpru (who appeared in Dear Dakanda and Metrosexual).

At times, however, the film follows this tone too strictly and prevents build-ups of other emotions in the audience. For example, a scene in which Aom is angry at Pom still allows a supporting cast to walk by for a laugh when it should just let the sadness engulf the viewers.

The acting and the plot are secondary to the films overall ambience. Who cares if the three leads oftentimes appear stiff and could not quite deliver their emotions? Who notices that a superb editing work helps them fake their musical talents? Who minds the many unnecessary but funny scenes involving supporting characters? And, who really wonders if Pom actually loves Aom or he just pities her? Seasons Change already has the audience at hello and some of us will see this film in cinema because of the directors reputation or the lead performers good looks.

In any case, Nithiwat has nailed this film and has proved that his solo effort is as good as his collaboration on the 2003 box office smash hit My Girl and that he is no less talented than other My Girls alums who have had their solo projects released this year, namely Komkrit Trivimol (Dear Dakanda, Noo Hin: The Movie) and Yongyos Sugmakanan (Dorm). Whether it is summer or winter, Seasons Change will always be in season.

 

 

 

 

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