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CITIZEN DOG aka Mah nakorn (Thailand)

  Publicity Stills of "Citizen Dog"
(Courtesy from Cathay-Keris Films)

In Thai with English Subtitles
Director: Wisit Sasanatieng
Cast: Mahasamut Boonyaruk, Saengthong Gate-Uthong
Runtime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 6 December 2007 (Exclusively at The Picturehouse)


A movie where nothing is impossible, and just because you get killed by raining red helmets it doesn't mean you have to stop driving motorcycle taxi. Country bumpkin Pod moves to the city and starts his new life by getting a job, losing a finger and dreaming about a girl. Working in a tin sardine factory, he absent-mindedly cuts off his finger and packs it into a can. He reunites with it at a local supermarket but afraid that he'll lose it again he quits his job. In his new job as a security guard Pod meets and falls in love with Jin, a wide-eyed maid who loves mopping the floor and carries a mysterious white book. Pod decides to drive a taxi so that he can drive her around all day. But Jin is infatuated with Peter, a foreign environmentalist who carries the same white book as her, and becomes obsessed with saving the world from plastic bottles. Pod, depressed that Jin has changed into a new person, waits for her every day at the mountain of plastic but she never comes back. Will Pod’s true love win Jin over? Will Jin ever find the dream she’s always looking for?

Movie Review:

The peculiar oddities in Wisit Sasanatieng’s “Citizen Dog” roll out like a fable from a factory of quirks and macabre whimsy, and of hopes and dreams. Its ingratiatingly twee love story is accentuated by delightfully exaggerated visuals, ones that involve marvelously ironic staging of helmets raining down on unprotected heads, a sliced and canned digit, a undead taxi driver continuing his gig, a chain-smoking 8 year-old and other quotidian miracles. Bearing strong echoes of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's “Amélie,” “Citizen Dog” is wonderful in the truest sense of the word. It arouses a childlike awe as we meet a fabulous collection of madcap, memorable characters. But its real magic comes from latching on and never losing sight of its local parlance and cultural appeal even when its treacly charms turn bittersweet and just a little too precious.

Along with a briskly paced and wildly off-hinged introduction that sets the stage for a modern, adult fairy tale, which finds naïve country boy Pod (Mahasamut Boonyaruk), getting a job at a sardine-packing factory in the big colourfully wacky city of Bangkok. He loses his finger, searches for it, gets a hold of a different finger in a can etc. The film’s initial episodic structure offers a pithy enthusiasm that goes unmatched in its second half, as Pod’s impetus becomes more single-minded as he jostles for the attention of the enchantingly daffy Jin (Saengthong Gate-Uthong), an obsessive compulsive maid who spends most of her time trying to decipher a book in a foreign language that fell out of a plane.

“Citizen Dog” has a charm, originality and freshness while attempting to exhibit a romantic sweetness. But it is not without its failings, as do all endeavours that (thankfully) deviate from the norm. A romance that never fully feels fleshed out, a petered out pacing and an aggressive palette of absurd inventions that turn hollow and much too cursory when compared to the visually triumphant first half’s parade of candy-striped adventures. But that really shouldn’t matter when a film offers a unique experience seemingly plucked out of oneiric ether, one so fanciful and fun, so exuberantly sweet in spirit even when it delightfully embraces the offbeat while being blissfully dreamy.

Movie Rating:

(An enchanting kaleidoscope of love, life and endless whimsy)

Review by
Justin Deimen



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