Full disclosure, but Anocha Suwichakornpong and Ben Rivers’ new creative documentary Krabi, 2562 is a difficult to understand film. Its themes are hidden amidst its gorgeously rendered landscapes, and unique on location shooting. This is a challenging film, but its rewards are well won.
There is ultimately no incorrect way to watch Krabi, 2562 a film loosely centred around the town of Krabi, but blended through a hybrid structure that mixes fiction, interviews, and an oral experience. A commercial crew shoots in the island’s coves, while tourists temporally occupy the same spaces. What remains is a commentary on tourism, commercialism, and the ever-changing face of a Southern Thai landscape.
I personally feel the best way to view this film is simply by letting it wash over you. Suwichakornpong and Rivers use eye-popping 16mm footage that will delight celluloid enthusiasts. Shots of trees dappled in sunlight, of unique urban landmarks, and the many water-based tracking shots, are simply breathtaking. Where Krabi, 2562 may lose most of its viewers is in the difficult to parse plot structure. It is sometimes difficult to understand all that occurs within this film, which partially offers viewers a sense of information overload.
Hence why I believe this is a film best experienced as an experience. The larger theamatic implications regarding a changing world can still be grasped without feeling the overwhelming need to understand every detail. Krabi, 2562 will delight audiences willing to give into its unique charms, as well as those appreciative of beautiful cinematography.