Baytong is a town in Thailand's predominantly Muslim south, near the Malaysian border; from its opening scene of an Islamic terrorist attack on a railway station, Nonzee's film uses the region's ethnic/religious tensions as a charged, topical context for his story. But the story itself couldn't be sweeter: the 27-year-old Tum (Puwarit), a Buddhist monk since early childhood, has to leave his monastery and become surrogate parent to his seven-year-old niece Maria (Saranya), orphaned by the terrorist bomb. It doesn't entirely avoid cuteness, but this is essentially an account of an adult male getting a crash course in adolescence, puberty and adult responsibilities. The aesthetic and moral seriousness of Jan Dara is nowhere in sight, but the film respects all its characters, and it's crafted with Nonzee's characteristic finesse.
Cast and crew