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

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Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy: Not Another Teen Movie

  By Sorradithep Supachanya / 25 November 2013
 

 

 

Tackling the subject like a Phileas Foggs challenge, Thai indie director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (36) weaves together 410 consecutive tweets by an anonymous Twitter user (@marylony) into an experimental film with a sometimes coherent, oftentimes amusing, but always insightful peek into the hopes, dreams, and anxieties of todays Thai teens.

Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy imagines the events that led to the Thai teenagers tweets between November 2012 and April 2013. It starts with the titular character volunteering to design her high schools yearbook and developing a crush on a boy from another school. As these two story arcs progress, the narrative zigzags into random tidbits to address Marys other random tweets, like ordering a jellyfish online, meeting a long-lost friend, and eating her sixth piece of ham.

While many of her tweets play out as stated, some involve quite a bit of creativity and dark humor. One such tweet, scissors, which doubles as a play on Thai word meaning long-distance relationship, features Mary holding a pair of scissors and then getting stab in her abdomen with it (not fatal, fortunately), perhaps as a reference to the piercing nature of the long-distance romance.

Marys tweets get sadder as time passes, reflecting both the teenagers anxiety about her uncertain future. Her yearbook lags behind schedule. Her best friend gets accepted into a college abroad while Mary waits for her letter. And the relationship with her crush does not head into the direction that she prefers. Original tweets like 60 minutes that separate 3am and 4am and dreaming that I was awake may have different contexts, but they sure fit the film Marys worried state of mind. Toward the end, the film takes a rather disappointingly tragic turn, with a stark contrast to its early quirky narrative.

Quick edits keep the pace entertaining. Production design includes a high attention to details, especially a fascinating presence of outdated technologies like VHS tapes, dot matrix printers, and cathode ray tube computer monitors.

Newcomers Patcha Poonpiriya as Mary and Chonnikan Netjui as her best friend shine as Thai teens with two opposite personalities, thoughts, and worries. They carry the film effortlessly. Fans of Thai indie films will notice a number of familiar faces, such as Krissada Sukosol Clapp (Chookiat Sakveerakuls 13Beloved, Kongkiat Khomsiris Gangster) and Apichai Trakulpadetkrai (Kongdej Jaturanrasamees P-047) guest-starring as Marys teachers.

After enjoying playing in film festivals around the world (Venice, Busan, Tokyo, and Taipei), Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy finally lands in Thai cinema this week, albeit in a limited release. Original, insightful, and ambitious, this coming-of-age teen-angst film is a surprise gem of the year.

 

   

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