Lângă un sat de pe coasta Thailandei, un localnic pescar salvează un străin care nu vorbește o boabă, îi oferă prietenia lui și îi dă numele de Thongchai. Atunci când perscarul dispare pe mare, Thongchai preia încet încet viața prietenului său – își asumă casa, meseria și chiar mariajul lui.
Imaginile superbe și vocea lină a debutului regizoral al thailandezului Phuttiphong Aroonpheng evocă criza refugiaților din Rohingya. O poveste despre empatie, culpabilitate, recuperare și identități pierdute, filmul marchează apariția unui nou talent.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.