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BUTTERFLY AND FLOWERS

Thailand, 1985 (MIFF 1987)

Director: Euthana Mukdasnit

Euthana Mukdasnit's film (winner of the Grand Prix at last December's Hawaii Film Festival) was a dream project that
he waited years to make, and the result is very far from the melodramatic mainstream of Thai cinema. The main
characters are Moslems (in a country of Buddhists) and the setting is the area near Thailand's southern border
with Malaysia. The protagonist is a promising young student forced to drop out of school when he has to take
over from his father as the family breadwinner. For want of other work, he |oins the gangs of kids who smuggle sacks
of rice on through-trains across the border. The film charts the experiences that turn him into a mature teenager with
an unsentimental but deeply humane eye. The non­-professional child actors are brilliantly directed, and Panya
Nimchareonpong's cinematography has all the resourcefulness and immediacy of Raoul Coutard's early
work for Godard. In short, it's a stunner.

Tony Rayns

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