Event Report2016.04.24Prize Winner Boonprakob Returns to OIMF with May Who?

On the final day of the 8th OIMF May Who? was screened to an appreciative audience at the Sakurazaka theater in Naha. The flick is a charming high school comedic love story by Chayanop Boonprakob, the director’s second film to be presented at the fest. At the 4th OIMF his feature Suckseed grabbed the Uminchu Prize Grand Prix in the Laugh category.

Staying with the Suckseed theme youth striving to realize their dreams, the story centers on high school junior Pong, who has a deep crush on the head cheerleader and most popular girl in the school. Pong is your typical nerd, but be has a flair for drawing comics, which are done in the distinctly Japanese manga style. One day his personal, fantasy comics get discovered and shown to all the students, humiliating him. At the heart of this incident is May, a cute senior who has an embarrassing secret of her own. When her heart races she conducts electricity and can send powerful shocks to anyone who touches her. This apparent ‘superpower’ has caused her to change schools many times throughout her childhood and generally feel like out outcast.

The film cleverly switches gears once May is introduced. Pong slowly begins to understand that he, as a nerd, shares much in common with the isolated May. The race is then on to see if Pong can win the girl’s affections.

This tender and funny teen story exhibits fantastic production values and expertly mixes live action with animation, done in the Japanese anime style. In fact, it’s evidence of how deeply Japanese entertainment has penetrated and influenced SE Asia that the animation approach is indistinguishable from the execution in Japan. Both in look and content the drawings refer to Japanese themes, right down to the nose bleed of the smitten boy.

Touching, witty and well acted, May Who? and the decorated director Chayanop Boonprakob show that Thai film is coming into its own as a major force in the world. In addition to the great technical aspects and directing of the work, the animation is top notch. The live action and cartoons are perfectly mixed, leading to satisfying viewing experience.