Monday, December 29, 2014

Patong Girl

Quelle: Barnsteiner Film, DIF, © Yoliswa von Dallwitz
Aisawanya Areyawattana, Max Mauff. Filmportal
DE/TH 2014. PC: Hanfgarn & Ufer Film- und TV-Produktion (Berlin). P: Andrea Ufer, Gunter Hanfgarn. D+SC: Susanna Salonen. DP: Yoliswa von Dallwitz - HD - 1:1,85. PD: Pongnarin Jonghawklang, Iris Trescher. Cost: Stefanie Jauss. Make-up: Stefanie Jauss, Alexandra Lebedynski. S: Manuel Meichsner. ED: Bettina Böhler. C: Max Mauff (Felix Schröder), Aisawanya Areyawattana (Fai), Victoria Trauttmansdorff (Annegret Schröder), Uwe Preuss (Ullrich Schröder), Marcel Glauche (Tommy Schröder), Gigi Velicitat (Maurice). Loc: Thailand. Kinostart: 25.12.2014. FSK Freigabe 6 J. In German, Thai, and English. Filmportal 89 min, I counted 93 min
    2K DCP with German subtitles viewed at Bundesplatz-Kino, Berlin, 29 Dec 2014
    In the presence of Susanna Salonen.
   
Official synopsis: "It's their last Christmas vacation together as a family, and the Schroeders are spending it on a resort island in Thailand. There, the 18-year-old son Felix falls in love with Fai, a beautiful Thai woman. His brother and mother suspect that the slightly enigmatic Fai is a prostitute, but Felix is simply swept away by her. At the end of the vacation, already at the airport, he announces that he has decided to simply stay longer and follow Fai to the North of the country, where her parents live. Felix' parents are appalled. Mother Annegret too decides to cancel her flight home and goes looking for her son in the backwaters of Thailand, which leads to several complications. Meanwhile, Felix discovers the true mystery behind the beautiful Fai." (Filmportal)

AA: Patong Girl is the fiction feature film debut of Susanna Salonen who was born in Finland but has lived all her life in Germany.

The narrative may have a distant affinity with The Crying Game or even Some Like It Hot, but it is not based on other films. Instead, it is based on first hand observation. Susanna Salonen has been a diving instructor in Patong since 1990, studying Thai life for a long time.

The story of a German family's Christmas vacation leads to a cycle of revelations. The 18-year old Tommy has a holiday romance with Fai. The first revelation: his mother suspects Fai to be a gold-digger, but she is nothing of the kind. The second revelation: Fai is not a regular woman but a member of the third sex. The third revelation takes place during the last part of the movie which takes us to North Thailand where we meet Fai's very conservative, highly respected and affluent family.

Susanna Salonen has an eye for the interesting observation and the illuminating detail. The difficult roles are carried well by Aisawanya Areyawattana and Max Mauff.

There are memorable images by the water. The flying lanterns lit to the memory of the victims of the tsunami ten years ago, meant to catch their still erring souls, to carry them to heaven. The rising light phenomena by the sea in the finale at night.

Salonen calls her film little, but there is a delicate psychological sense in Patong Girl that is out of the ordinary.

There was a Q and A with Peter Latta after the screening.
    Salonen told us about her fascination with the witty, weird and interesting scene in Thailand.
    Patong / Phuket / Pattaya / Bangkok are the great bordellos of Thailand, but 97% of the people have nothing to do with that.
    The ancient Thai view is that there are three genders; in some cultures there is a view of five genders and also a view of a grayscale of genders.
    Salonen was happy with her actors, including with the young Max Mauff, who is very good in underplaying.

NB. Also for a Finn, this was in an important way a decennial screening of the tsunami of 26 December 2004. 179 Finns died in the biggest peacetime disaster for Finns.

AFTER THE JUMP BREAK: A LONGER SYNOPSIS

AFTER THE JUMP BREAK: A LONGER SYNOPSIS

Inhalt (Filmportal): "Familie Schröder macht Weihnachtsurlaub im thailändischen Phuket. Vater Ullrich eher mit hinhaltendem Widerstand, Mutter Annegret übertrieben begeistert von der fremden Kultur, die in der Touristenhochburg Patong kaum zu bemerken ist. Hier hängen eher die gestrandeten Urlauber ab, die nicht mehr zurück ins normale Leben wollen. Sohn Tommy gönnt sich ab und an ein Thai-Bier. Doch den jüngeren Felix trifft es mitten ins Herz. Am Strand lernt er die schöne Thailänderin Fai kennen und erlebt mit 18 die erste große Liebe seines Lebens."

"Fai kommt aus dem Norden Thailands. Ihre Schwester arbeitet in einer von Europäern stark frequentierten Bar in Patong. Die Eltern haben die Studentin nach Phuket geschickt, damit sie nach einer Trennung ihren Liebeskummer überwinden kann. Die unbeschwerten Tage am Strand führen zu wunderbaren erotischen Begegnungen. Doch ein Geheimnis ihrer Identität traut sich Fai Felix, den sie aufrichtig liebt, nicht zu offenbaren. Der junge Deutsche kann die winzigen Merkmale von Fais Besonderheit nicht deuten. Die Eltern und der ältere Bruder halten Fai sowieso für eine Prostituierte, die den kleinen Bruder nur abzocken will. Es gibt einen tränenreichen Abschied, als Fai zurück in den Norden und Felix nach Deutschland muss. Noch auf dem Flughafen entschließt er sich, "seinem Herzen zu folgen" und seinem "Patong Girl" nachzureisen. Nichts ist so, wie es ihm anfangs erschien. Und dann entschließt sich auch noch seine Mutter, ihm nachzureisen, was zu manchen – auch komischen – Verwicklungen führt. Für Mutter und Sohn beginnt das wahre Abenteuer der exotischen Fremde
." Quelle: 10. Festival des deutschen Films 2014 (Filmportal)

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