Jungle Horror and Sweaty Erotica From a Thai Cinema Bigwig


Involved up to his eyeballs in virtually every Thai film you’ve ever heard of (that includes producing Bang Rajan and the ill-fated Tears of the Black Tiger), Nonzee Nimibutr might be his burgeoning industry’s frontman, and the films he’s directed are posh, luxuriantly photographed genre exercises. Nang Nak, his 1999 jungle horror romance-tragedy, is something of a freak, a ghost story set in the rainforest and in the straw-river-hut pre-industrial past. T-horror it’s not; rather, it’s an Ugetsu variation, with a husband returning to his wife from one of untold Burmese skirmishes, only to realize what the rest of the village already knows: that his wife and newborn child are lonesome ghosts. Once a ghostbuster is recruited and the local Buddhist priest decides to intervene, Nimibutr’s movie becomes saturated in Brontean woe, and the use of digital effects is so spare they’re genuinely shocking. Also released, Nimibutr’s Jan Dara (2001) is relatively fluffy tropical erotica, a period bildungsfilm sweaty and copulation-crazy enough to satisfy any summertime yens for mosquito-netting-draped, ice-cube-slicked semi-taboo sex-ertainment. Supplements are limited to trailers and bios.