Monday, November 8, 2010

P (2005)

In 2005 me, Markus Widegren and Anders Östlund was at FFF (Fantastic Film Festival) in Lund to show our latest masterpiece, Kraftverk 3714. Another guest there was Terry Gilliam, and we had the pleasure to talk with him and shake his hand to many times. Anyway, it was a nice festival with some nice movies and nice people. One of the movies I wanted to see was “P”, a Thai horror movie about prostitution and ghosts. But one thing led to another and suddenly we was sitting in a friends living room watching a terribly bad Swedish slasher-movie instead. We got a good laugh, but I missed the movie I REALLY wanted to see.

Six years later and I finally found a release good enough for me, a juicy special edition Blu-Ray with tons of extras and perfect picture quality…

Suangporn Jaturaphut is Dau, a Khmer girl who lives with her grandma out in the jungle. Both of them have knowledge in magic, but Dau is of course a novice in the subject. Her grandma is getting sicker and sicker and one day Dau accepts a job in Bangkok. When she arrives she understands it’s like a bargirl, a dancer and even a prostitute in a bar only for farangs (non-thai, men of course). She quickly becomes more tough, and decides to take revenge on a man who forced her to sex. A snake bites his penis, and he’s never seen again. Of course this is the work of Dau’s black magic, but the magic is bad for her and soon she’s possessed by a liver-eating ghost who hunts during the night and take revenge on the people Dau does not like…

P almost immediately became a controversial project, and I’m not sure it even got screened in Thailand, at least not in Cinemas. It’s also directed by a British director, Paul Spurrier, which might have offended some people – I have no idea, because this is a very open movie about something that’s taboo in Thailand: the sex industry. I think this could be the only time I’ve seen the life of a bargirl in a Thai movie, and a lot more explicit than I expected it to be. Spurrier goes for atmosphere more than pure horror, and creates Dau as someone that feels real and probably is not that far away from the truth. The scenes in the bar is disturbing and beautiful, but directed with taste and intelligence. It’s hard to make a movie about prostitution without getting too sleazy. Well, Spurrier made it.

Even if the drama might be the dominating part in the movie, horror is there too. It gets more intense the further the movie goes, and some of the first scares feels quite lame, but it’s only a build up to the nasty, green-faced ghost that will show up later and chew her way in the cast. I can’t say it’s a gory movie, but its blood and has well-made effect. The ghost-make up is cool and more fun than the usual white-faced girls with long black hair.

The Blu-Ray is marvellous. I haven’t checked all the bonus material yet, but it’s fat with fun stuff. The weirdest part is a simple shot-on-video tour of Soi Cowboy, which seem to be a bar-street in Bangkok. Author (and I think he also had a small part in the movie has a unlucky farang customer) Dean Barrett shows us his favourite whore-street and talks endlessly about what he sees around him. This is both a deeply disturbing piece of footage, and yet, Mr Barrett is quite charismatic and very open about his fascination about this place. One of the best and most absurd bonuses I had the honour to watch actually.

P is a gorgeous looking hybrid of social realistic drama and gory ghost movie. Well worth watching for you ghost-fans out there.

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