/slash ½ 2017 – Day 1: Nong hak (Dearest Sister)

Dearest Sister
Laos 2016
Written by Christopher Larsen
Directed by Mattie Do
Watched on 04.05.2017

“Dearest Sister” offered a solid start into this years “/slash ½”-Festival (the shorter, 3-day-offshoot of the main festival, taking place in May). What I liked most is how it dealt with the importance of money and status symbols in – compared to our, western, environment – poorer regions of the world. Not that those things wouldn’t be important over here, too (even though that obviously varies from person to person), but sometimes we can forget how spoilt we actually are. It’s easy to see why those things would be more important in an impoverished environment. I also liked that the consequent social commentary wasn’t limited to only the protagonist, but was also present with her “sister” as well as her husband (who also both did questionable things for money). Mostly, though, it was about Nok, and the depths she will go to just to make a few bucks. She was a wonderfully selfish and mean protagonist – something that I very much enjoyed. To sum up the good parts, the ghost scenes were very well done, and the design of the ghosts was really cool. On the downside, I didn’t find them (or the movie in general) to be particularly creepy. The story, while interesting, never really gripped me. The middle part dragged along considerably. And as interesting as I might have found “Dearest Sister” from a thematic point of view, I never felt a real connection to any of the characters. Overall, it was a movie that spoke to me more intellectually than it did emotionally – which is always a slight problem. Nevertheless, it offered interesting insights into a completely different world (from my point of view), and a couple of strong moments and nice ideas.
5/10

IMDB

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