Hitting SF Cinemas on November 23, 2017 is Die Tomorrow, renowned Thai filmmaker (and a Thailand Tatler 2017 Generation T lister) Nawapol Thamrongrattanit’s fifth feature. The trailer, released earlier this month, reveals the film’s focus on the subject of death (not that the title isn't a dead giveaway), tracing characters' lives 24 hours before they will cease to exist.
The teaser shows footages of a boy discussing his opinion on death reminiscent of documentary-style interview scenes from the director's 2011 short, Maythawee. Fans of Nawapol's works may also recognize intercuts of actual scenes from Maythawee, for instance, when characters are on set for a film called "Lucky Girls".
As a director, Nawapol is known to balance well beautiful, nuanced cinematography with deadpan wit. His first feature, Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy in 2013, gained such popularity that it became a phenomenon in Thailand, turning the indie into the mainstream. His second feature that followed, Heart Attack, though less stylised and more substantial, still maintains the characteristic beat mixed with a deadpan humour that people has come to associate with Nawapol’s works.
What draws our attention in particular to Nawapol highly anticipated new film is a cast dominated by female actors who appeared in his previous projects. It is as if Die Tomorrow is a coming-together of his cinematic universe, where characters from all his previous works will meet on one screen. Actresses who will be reprising their roles from previous Thamrongrattanit films in Die Tomorrow include Jarinpon Joonkiat (from Maythawee and SORRY), Patcha Poonpiriya (from Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy) and Violette Wautier (from Heart Attack).
Tracking his repertoire, you'll see that in the visionary's earlier shorts, there are more irregularities and experimentations in beats, compared to the current ‘brand’ of Nawapol, although superb and enjoyable in its own rite. Nevertheless, what remains present throughout Nawapol's filmography thusfar are an overarching theme of isolation, loss or death.
In another one of his early films, 36, the loss of a recorded memory is underlined by stillness and nostalgia. Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy, too, although more upbeat, ultimately possesses an undertone of death. And, of course, in the 2015 smash hit Heart Attack, death bookends the beginning and the end of the film.
Die Tomorrow once again carries on Nawapol's dreary signature and even brings it forth as a blatant focus of the movie. From the trailer, we're expected the new film to further solidify Nawapol's unique style of narrative and cinematography, as well as uphold the director's reputation as a force to be reckon with in our creative industry.