สนับสนุนโดย สำนักงานศิลปวัฒนธรรมร่วมสมัย กระทรวงวัฒนธรรม Supported by Office of Contemporary Art And Culture ,Ministry Of Culture

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It Gets Better this time.
  By Sorradithep Supachanya / 14 February 2012
 

 

 

Verdant hills. Red Jaguar convertible. A lone woman in a bright yellow dress. She finishes her cigarette and then squats down to urinate on the side of the road. If the first scene of a film serves to give any indication of what is to come, then Tanwarin Sukkhapisits latest transgender-themed It Gets Better is an earnest, confident, and sincere film with unconventional protagonists in an uncompromising story.

Told with three seemingly unrelated subplotsa middle-aged transsexuals homecoming, a young mans sexual rendezvous with a transvestite showgirl, and an ordained novices unrequited love for a fellow monkthe film powerfully converges at the end, like jigsaws falling into places, in an unsettling revelation about wounded souls hiding behind glamorous stages shows and under monk robes, aching for love in all the wrong places. They all seem to suggest that happiness, transient as it may be, needs to come from within and those who love you just the way you are.

The story may be safe compared to writer-director Tanwarins first feature, Insects in the Backyard, also a transgender-themed love story, which was banned by the Thai Culture Ministry for strong content despite the countrys adoption of a film rating system. But upon closer looks, clever narrative and superb performances are what make this film so captivating.

Veteran actress Penpak Sirikul brings to life an empathetic character whose scarred past makes her crave for love yet hesitate to lose herself in a relationship. Her empty gazes at the end of a brief fairytale romance with the rugged motorcycle mechanic reveals her vulnerability, her repeatedly crushed heart, although at the surface she appears to face her situation with her head held high.

 

 

Newcomer Pawit Saproongroj gives a heart-wrenching performance as the novice in unrequited love. His action and desperation culminate in the painfully depicted climax scene in which with no words he shows us a heart that once has soared with hope but now crumbles into pieces.

Some scenes linger for far too long and serve little purpose. For example, the transvestite shows may be aimed as a way to increase the films appeal to the mass as it marginally adds to the plot.

With It Gets Better, Tanwarin Sukkhapisit proves that she can make a powerful and accessible film about transgender issues within the irrational boundaries of the Thai Culture Ministrys rating system. And that itself is a cause for celebration.


   

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