Thailand in the 1930s, hardly the place to be a single mother. And so when her travelling musician husband fails to return home from a business trip, the heavily pregnant country girl Nualjan sets off to Bangkok in an attempt to find her missing lover. But what she finds is something entirely different. Arriving in Bangkok friendless and virtually penniless, the young woman is taken in as a boarder in a crumbling estate on the outskirts of town where she is befriended by the rough and tumble street urchin building a new life there, menaced by the harsh caretaker and bewildered by the beautiful, seldom seen proprietress –- who is rumored to be sleeping with the ghost of her dead husband and has an unhealthy interest in her coming child.
The third feature by much loved Thai stylist Wisit Sasanatieng (Tears of the Black Tiger, Citizen Dog) finds him shifting gears slightly. Sasanatieng wrote his first two features himself, using them essentially as loopy love stories directed towards Thai cinema and Bangkok itself, respectively. With his third, he opts for more straightahead genre fare, working from a script written by one of the directorial team behind Art of the Devil 2. But while this approach may remove some of Sasanatieng’s normal quirks and visual stylings from the equation, he proves himself every bit as adept covering this new ground. Modeled after classic works of Thai painting, The Unseeable is a masterful piece of mood cinema, with eerie tone and texture oozing from every frame. Thailand is a superstitious place, its folklore loaded with scores of different types of ghost stories, and Sasanatieng puts that still-active belief in the supernatural to great effect, loading his film with layer upon layer of hidden images, a brooding score and the sure sense that nothing is ever quite what it seems. The Unseeable is set in a world where the dead are watching, and the dead are everywhere.
“Drawing inspiration from sources as diverse as Hitchcock's Rebecca and Siamese Gothic novelist/painter Hem Wejakorn, The Unseeable is a vintage spook show that gives you the shivers rather than shocks” – Kong Rithdee, THAI FILM FOUNDATION
Director: Wisit Sasanatieng
Screenplay: Kongkiat Khomsiri, Chareon Iamphungporn
Cast: Supornthip Choungrangsee
Producers: Rewat Vorarat
Distributor: Five Stars
2007 | 7 min
French language, English subtitles