Review: Mekong Full Moon Party (2002)

Directed by:
Cast: , , , ,

Not available in Australia on DVD (to our knowledge)

With a barrage of good films emerging from Thailand of recent, such as Last Life in the Universe, Legend of Suriyothai and others, I was excited to see what the writer and cinematographer of the cult hit, Iron Ladies, was going to offer. Much to my delight, this film gave me an effervescent hit of fresh Thai culture that can only be paralleled by the hit that you get from a spicy Thai Green Curry.

Mekhong Full Moon Party is heavily brandished with Thai charm and wit, and this charm and wit is what director Jira Maligool does best! I find Maligool being able to really sum up Thai culture better in Mekhong Full Moon Party than I have seen from any Thai film to date.

The film throws together a mixed bag of characters who are all trying to push their beliefs on the origin of the Naga Fire Balls. There are the skeptical scientists, devoted believers in the Buddhist faith, cheeky Buddhist monks, and then the barge loads of tourists (or “farangs” if you will).

Maligool takes each school of thought provided by the many characters, and contrasts them playfully. A good example of this is the vignettes of Dr Narati and Dr Surapol trying to convince the locals on their opposing theories about the origins of the Fire Balls.
The contrasts in the film pose the question on what to believe in, traditional spiritual faith or modern day technological skepticism.

The look of the film is also needs mention. Mekhong Full Moon Party is full of eye-catching locations that get the cinematography they deserve. The Mekhong River looks stunning with the early morning fog rising from it. Deservingly, the film won awards for its cinematography, including the FIPRESCI Special Mention, at the 2003 Hong Kong International Film Festival.

The only main concern I have with Mekhong Full Moon Party is its length. The film runs for 2 hours, which is to me, about 30 minutes to long. The film could have wrapped itself up much quicker considering that the message of the film was already established within the first hour.

Mekhong Full Moon Party undoubtedly is a fun and creative film that represents Thai culture most truthfully, and will surely amuse anyone looking for some light entertainment.

7.5 Flaming Naga Fire balls out of 10.
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