Its a wonderful town

During the summer, on a hazy warm Sunday evening and being overcome with boredom, I picked up the Broadway cinema guide and thumbed through the listings. For some reason that month, I hadn’t read it as fully as I thought and missed a listing for an amazing Thai movie called ‘Wonderful Town’.

I love independent cinema and I especially love beautifully shot films. Being a photography enthusiast, as soon as I read anything that says, ‘Beautifully shot’, ‘stunning cinematography’ or ‘perfectly filmed’, I feel compelled to go see it. I’m a fan of using the full landscape to show a scene and use the actors to interact with their surroundings. That not only makes it easier to watch but it brings out so much more than someone’s face or body language. You can almost see how we are a part of this earth and I love films that can show this to full extent.

Let me explain a little further. Wonderful Town was set in a sleepy post-Tsunami coastal town in the south of Thailand. For me, that part of Thailand (and the world) is exceptionally beautiful and it would be a crying shame to not include that stunning scenery as part of the film. It was achieved brilliantly. There was no complicated plot. A not very extensive script. A very basic storyline. Very few actors. On paper this would make quite a unappealing film to go and see. The beauty of Wonderful Town was all of the aforementioned characteristics. What was left was the interaction of the people in their environment in such a beautiful way.

Simplicity at its very best. Uncomplicated, unpretentious and very engaging. One such scene was very emotional to me. The lead character standing on the beach looking out to sea while the sun sets. Being a city person this was something that he did not get to see and the full splendour was shown with little camera movements and using the natural light. Accompanying this was a simple acoustic guitar soundtrack that added to its simplicity. The shot remained still and the character walks from edge to edge of the view, edited with some close ups of a face of thought, emotion and happiness. Nothing complicated, no effects and capturing beauty in the environment with a human beings’ interaction. I can relate to that so much as I was lucky enough to live there for a while too.

Why make a film that misses out the context of environment? Why use out of focus, shaky and close up shots of actors when it misses out on the full picture? A true masterpiece can sometimes say nothing much at all but speaks more words of wisdom through the whole picture. Pretentious?? Bah!

Also see for cinematography:

  • Lost in Translation
  • No Country for Old Men
  • Apocalypse Now
  • American Beauty
  • Blade Runner