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5 days to watch
249 Ratings

Manta Ray

Kraben Rahu

Thailand, France, 2018


Near a coastal village of Thailand, a local fisherman rescues a stranger, who does not speak a word, offers him his friendship and names him Thongchai. When the fisherman suddenly disappears at sea, Thongchai slowly begins to take over his friend’s life—his house, his job and his marriage.

Our take

The gorgeous images and gentle storytelling of Thai director Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s entrancing debut subtly build a compassionate evocation of the Rohingya refugee crisis in Thailand. A tale of empathy, culpability, recuperation, and blurred identities, it marks the voice of a bold new talent.

Manta Ray Directed by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng Watch now
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A film that stays with you for a long time for its quiet but humanist and cinematic appeal.
November 14, 2018
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Manta Ray unlocks the metaphysical resonances of an issue often rendered one-dimensional.
November 02, 2018
The critique of anti-immigrant brutality is intensified by the lustrous cinematography (Aroonpheng was a top DP). You can feel the texture of the planks in the cabin and the sharp edges of the gems that fingers root out of the forest floor. This is probably the most tactile movie I saw at VIFF.
October 15, 2018
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What are people saying?

  • Jordan Hoffman's rating of the film Manta Ray

    A visually stunning film that is the directorial debut of Phuttiphong Aroonpheng, Manta Ray treads the line of fantasy and reality in a hypnotic mixture of a refugee's life after being saved by a fisherman from a small village in Thailand. Through a mix of real and imagined elements this story, despite a slow introduction, ends up captivating the viewer by the end on a mesmerizing audiovisual journey of the senses.

  • Renton47's rating of the film Manta Ray

    Seeing Manta Ray I was reminded of discovering Mundane History through mubi, which also turned an intimate tale into a cosmological experience. Requiring more than a little participation, at times it ventured into what I call 'Post-rock' cinema, which isn't bad but doesn't do justice to the emotional impact it imparts. Unexpected, but a powerful and dazzling portrait of Rohingya displacement.

  • Aaken's rating of the film Manta Ray

    A layered and hypnotic sensory journey for this tale of friendship between a mute Rohingya and a Thai fisherman who rescues him. Aroonpheng juggles with symbols, the strange and the marvellous and an elusive narrative of displacement and swapped identities that leaves doors open to interpretation. But the humanist heart of the film is firmly rooted. Certainly one of the most fascinating films of this year.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Manta Ray

    While being a promising debut mainly in terms of the elegance of the imagery and the poetic tones that largely resonate from what is a subtle texture, its reticence risks being interpreted as a tactic that 'plays safe' by the conventions of contemporary art-house film: ambience, 'epoche' on dramatization, non-verbal performativity, 'correct' images emptied of semantics, hybridity. These 'work' here but do not uplift.

  • Wee Hunk's rating of the film Manta Ray

    It's always December 25th in Thailand. Christmas lights everywhere, even in the forest. It's a great idea for a movie. I paused it several times because I lost track of what was happening. I kept thinking of what I'd put in the American version that I'm directing in my head. There were many moments where I thought the movie could have ended, but it just kept going. My version would be shorter, and end in Paris.

  • Loz Loory's rating of the film Manta Ray

    3.5 Feels visually and aurally symphonic, as though secret harmonies are tying together disparate worlds and peoples. Loved the minimal dialogue, as it forces the audience to exist in a similar state to Thongchai and his saviour. Beautiful cinematography and calming shots of the men simply existing together. Loved the symbolism of the bejeweled forest. Echoes of "Vertigo" in the male doubling.

  • Mark Smith's rating of the film Manta Ray

    Slow. Very slow, with lingering drawn-out attention to details which seem rather arbitrary. I will admit to being confused too. Perhaps a second viewing is warranted, but I could not face that.

  • Not A Sexy Vampire's rating of the film Manta Ray

    If Apichatpong Weerasethakul remade Vertigo, it would look a lot like Manta Ray. Haunting, sensuous and dreamlike. Several shots stick with me: a disco light dance, the baby in the dirt, the midway forest lights. I don't know the meaning behind it, but so gorgeous. Undercurrent of homoeroticism, which I'm not complaining about, but may also be reading too much into.

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