Luck is one of the queens who shines every night in the streets of Thaniya, Bangkok’s red-light district, popular with Japanese businessmen. One evening Luck meets a former client, Ozawa, in a bar. The two quickly resume their relationship and he decides to accompany the young woman to visit her family in a village in the north, near the border with Laos. Away from the forgetful city, the region’s past and its colonial wounds are brought to light…
Four years on, Katsuya Tomita is back in Locarno with another panoramic story dedicated to youth in transition. Like Saudâji, Bangkok Nites extends the time of the narrative, playing more on the ebb and flow of the characters rather than a multiplication of stories. The strength of Tomita, a self-taught, mould-breaking filmmaker, lies in the freshness of his gaze and the way in which he gives depth to his characters. Behind the most romantic of love stories, where however it is the woman who saves the man, Luck and Ozawa reveal two ways of seeing the country. While Thailand peeped through in Saudâji, here, more than a backdrop, it becomes the central character. It’s clear that Tomita spent a long time soaking up the country before deciding to tell its story. Just see how he arranges his mise-en-scène on the double axis of city/countryside, present/past. With his rapid changes of register and switches from one point of view to another, drawing the secondary characters with great effectiveness as well, and thanks to the freedom with which he uses pop songs and rap music, poetry and ghosts, Bangkok Nites provides confirmation that behind this director/truck driver lies the talent of a great storyteller.