THE ISLAND FUNERAL (dir. Pimpaka Towira, Thailand 2015, 105 mins)
Laila is a smart and confident woman, but what makes her feel different is the fact that she belongs to the 5% Muslim minority in a predominantly Buddhist country. She has always felt caught between two worlds: one of traditional Muslim values as impressed upon her by her family and the community in which she grew up, and of being part of a minority in the ‘global village’ of Bangkok.
Laila, along with her brother Zugood, and friend Toy, set off from Bangkok in search of their long lost aunt, as conflict and political turmoil take over the capital. Yet, away from the political tension of the city, they are oblivious to the volatile situation and violent outbreaks that have been taking place in the south of Thailand for many years. The tense atmosphere is palpable, with increased military presence in the area. Over the course of a 1,000km road trip, fragmented images from Laila’s past surface, from her family, life, work and love, which overlap with the memories of those around her, while their feelings of insecurity intensify as they head further towards an unknown destination.
On the way, they cross paths with Surin, a young soldier from the northeast of the country. Seemingly caught in a never-ending journey through this danger zone, Surin feels like an outsider and isolated. Only memories and hope keep him going. The four decide to continue their journey together and they head off on a road which leads them to a land stranger than any they could ever have imagined.
Official Festival Selections
Tokyo International Film Festival - Winner: Best Asian Future Film Award
Hong Kong International Film Festival - Winner: FIPRESCI Prize