Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Best in Time (Kwaam Jam San..Dtae Rak Chan Yaao)

Best in Time (Kwaam Jam San..Dtae Rak Chan Yaao)
Directed by
Youngyooth Thongkonthun (Iron Ladies)
Arak Amornsupasiri (Body sob 19), Yarinda Bunnag

Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it. ~Michel de Montaigne

Memory is a whimsical beast. It surfaces without warning, submerges without a sound as if it never made ripples. Memories being unique to a person, we can assume that we own them, that we can subject them to bend to our will, chronologically sorted and easily pulled out as needed.

Keng (Arak Amornsupasiri) is a snobbish, awkward veterinarian who never got over his first love, Fai (Yarinda Bunnag), who married and later got divorced to his best friend. Keng pretends that he doesn't remember her when she stumbles into his clinic carrying an injured dog.

Kind and eternally compassionate Fai can't forget her ex-husband and secretly wishes that they would get back together soon. But she also remembers Keng, the once shy, admonishing high school kid who had recorded a love mix for her, and is now showing her the kind of affection and attention that her ex-husband couldn't give.

Sompit and Jamrat met at a computer club for the elderly. Eventhough her family doesn't agree with her blossoming relationship with Jamrat, Sampit flees to Chumporn to be with the man she loves; she insists on staying with Jamrat even if her family is relocating to the U.S. But Jamrat, due to an illness, is slowly losing his memory. He will soon forget every memory he holds dear. Pretty soon, he wouldn't even recognize Sampit.

Best in Time is a thoughtful, lighthearted examination of memory and its ironies. Director Amornsupasiri is in no rush to tell a story and there is a languid, relaxed flow to the mistakes and realizations that the characters make along the way. Beyond a logical progression from point A to point B, Best in Time is fattened with moments that make each character more endearing----Fai rushing off to a bookstore to buy her ex-husband's missing DragonBallZ vol. 18 manga but ends up getting the entire set because the books weren't sold individually; Keng pretending to be asleep and secretly smiling when droplets of water from Fai's newly washed hair trickle down his cheeks---moments not exactly integral to moving the story forward but in themselves are memories waiting to be kept.

The movie also keeps it real as much as possible and veers from romantic-comedy predictability right from the outset. Fai and Keng make an odd couple; they never really become comfortable with each other's company with Fai still attempting, maybe even faking, to move on from her divorce. And I like it that the movie leaves it at that, with one still unable to forget and the other quite willing to never forget and continue waiting.

If there is a weakness to the movie, it is the contrived metaphors (the tree, the goldfish) that weigh down Sampit and Jamrat's story, the almost too obvious emotional anchors that cue the melodrama (of which I am not immune to because I admittedly had to pretend to clean my glasses when I was really quickly wiping off tears).

The existence of forgetting has never been proved: We only know that some things don't come to mind when we want them. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

I liked Best in Time more than I should. Memory is triggered randomly and the DragonBallZ manga bit hit too close to home. Out of nowhere, with one hand freezing from holding a soda and the other half-buried in a popcorn bucket, there it was, this thing I thought I had forgotten.

If there's one thing that the movie is successful at it is making us remember that the past is as fluid as the future and that all we can do when it does rear its head---nostlagic, regretful, or whimsical---is sit back and enjoy the view.


Official website: www.kwamjumsan.com

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