1985. Butterflies and Flowers – Peesua lair Dokmai

 

Director:Euthana Mukdasnit
Production Company:
Five Star Productions, Bangkok
Year of Production:
1985
Screenplay:
Euthana Mukdasnit, based on the book by Nipparn
Cinematography: Panya Nimchareongpong
Editing: M.L. Varapa Kasaemsri
Music: Butterfly
Sound: Nivat Sumneangsanor
Cast: Suriya Yaovasong, Vasana Pholylem, Suchow Phongvilai
Running Time: 120 mins
Video Subtitles by SBS Television, Australia

 

The butterfly float in the town festival paradeBased on a widely admired Thai novel, Butterflies and Flowers dramatises the lives of young village teenagers, about to leave school (before they are ready to do so), and making a transition from the protective environment of their school playground, with its fostered ideals, and supportive teachers, to the challenges posed by finding employment in a largely undeveloped rural community, where many other young people face the same challenges, with limited guidance.

Filmed in colour on location in a relatively unvisited part of Southern Thailand, near the border with Malaysia, the story deals with the experience of a Muslim boy, from the mixed Muslim and Buddhist communities of Thailand’s south, who has to take responsibility for the well being of his brother and sister, and is eventually initiated into a would-be adult world of teenagers in a border town, by a group of streetwise young rice smugglers, riding the trains to Malaysia. The film asks the question as to how they can retain their ideals, their innocence and their generosity towards one another

An early film by one of Thailand’s most important directors, Euthana Mukdasnit, this is one of the finest Thai films ever made. British critic, Tony Rayns, writing in the TimeOut Film Guide, has described the film as “an exceptionally beautiful movie”, one which “offers the joy of seeing a director in full control of his medium”. While concentrating on the world of the young teenagers, the film is resonant with intimations of many features of Thai society and Thai experience.