Review: In April The Following Year, There Was A Fire

Memoir. Documentary. Fiction. Visual Poetry.

Wichanon Somunjarn’s first feature film is a poetic retelling of incidents from the director’s life against the backdrop of the turmoil in Thailand in the recent years.

Somujarn at Osian's Cine-fan film festival

The film blends or I should say breaks the barrier between fiction and non-fiction and constructs visuals through a stream of consciousness.  I had seen it at the 12th Osian’s Cine-fan film festival and during the interaction the director mentioned that he feels that some times fiction is based or born out of reality or real events and some times documentary fails to capture the truth/reality. He wanted to bring the two together and did so successfully.

The plot and story line are fairly simple and a google search will yield enough links, you could also start by visiting https://www.facebook.com/inaprilthemovie & http://peoplesforeignexchange.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/iffr-day-9-in-april-the-following-year-there-was-a-fire/

The film deals with many issues and the ‘unforced’ acting brings them to life. The old debate between hectic city life and idyllic rural life,  development, the pursuit of happiness are some key themes. He also manages to capture beauty in all its forms. Its poetry in motion, when he captures a boat being rowed down a river or a horse being tended to.

The film is full of references and allusions, which were lost in translation and my very limited knowledge of Thai culture and history. Someone with a deeper understanding could easily spot/relate to them.

Barring a couple of martial arts/action films, I haven’t really been exposed to Thai cinema. I have seen two Thai films at Osian, the other one being Headshot (a  noir, crime thriller that revolves around karma) and liked both of them a lot.

I will try to get my hands on more Thai films, if you have any recommendations please leave a comment.

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