Nymph, directed by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, is one of “those” films from Thailand — bizarre for me, but maybe not for Thai filmgoers, or the jury from the Bangkok International Film Festival who deemed it worthy of a Special Jury Prize. Writer/director Ratanaruang gives viewers an indescribable trip into his imagination. I both enjoyed and hated this slow-moving film. As a female, I found Pen-Ek’s rape intro scene horrific and frightening. Trouble is… I don’t know what it had to do with the plot.
Trouble is… was there a plot?
Trouble is… that opening scene might well be the high point of this eerie movie.
Most of Nymph takes place in a Thai forest. Nop (Jayanama Nopachai) and May (Wanida Termthanaps) are married but not engaging in sexual activity with each other. Korn (Chamanun Wanwinwatsara) is May’s boss and lover and represents the wedge between May and Nop. The spouses decide to have an intimate tent-vacation in the forest — and thus starts the excruciatingly slow development of the “pseudo” plot. May and Nop will be separated by the spirits of the forest. May will determinedly face the forest deities and liberate Nap. Trouble is… does she win or lose?
Expect to see tons of leaves, branches and vine-entangled trees. There is a fascinating musical rhythm to this film, as well as some cultural references to Asian demons and spirits, but the visual part never really manifests itself. The acting is monotonous, the end puzzling and disappointing — but then again it may be a cultural thing. It’s a low-budget, 35mm movie with “bloopers” that should have been left on the editing floor.
Trouble is… I keep thinking of this film.