HIFF Screening of Snap (Sad movie was sad.)

Set in contemporary Thailand after the introduction martial law, this film shows us what it is like to go on with your life while everything is crumbling around you. The director, Kongdej Jaturanrasmee, told the international film press that he wanted to make a simple movie about human emotions. Known for his politically nuanced films, Snap is comparatively low-key. It does, however, bring in the impact of social media on our relationships. The production of the film is unique, with hashtags appearing on the screen periodically and saturated color photos pausing moments of the characters’ lives, as if Instagram had somehow become a real.

In the film the main character, Pueng, returns to her hometown before her marriage to a Lieutenant that is approved by her Colonel father. She is emblematic of the Thai youth during a time of unrest that seems to have little to do with them. They are gradually becoming more worried about their futures as they become adults. As a result, they make choices that seem like they would make life more stable.

Pueng takes pictures with her phone of everything she experiences and posts them on social media with long lists of hashtags. Yet she is portrayed as being rather lonely. One day, she is invited to the wedding of one of her friends from her hometown. Her ex-boyfriend turns out to be the wedding photographer, and being around him and her friends spurs many memories. Yet, because she had to suddenly leave the town when her father was transferred, she is not in many pictures. And because her ex-boyfriend was the photographer, neither is he.

Pueng begins to doubt her engagement and becomes depressed. She cannot reconcile her abundant social media presence and feeling so empty, just like the hollow outline above her name in her high school yearbook. She yearns for the past even though back then she could not wait to make her life in the future. This shifting between future and past is represented by the ex-boyfriend, who develops his photos in a darkroom instead of using digital technology.

In the end, I felt disappointed and sad because even though she seems so distressed about her marriage, she goes through with it. She changed nothing.

Promotional photo from the film Snap

Promotional photo from the film Snap

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