By the Time It Gets Dark
Gateway | Dragons & Tigers
To watch Anocha Suwichakornpong’s By the Time It Gets Dark is to journey through a world where the boundaries of time and space do not exist. Suwichakornpong’s style… embodies this vision by collaging different mediums and leaving narrative gaps in her stories to the imagination. But this does not mean that she is only concerned with the metaphysical. Rather, Suwichakornpong’s films elevate the ethereality of the physical, human world, as her cosmic imagery intertwines with the relationships between strangers, friends, lovers, families, citizens, and governments.
Her second feature [after the Rotterdam-winning Mundane History], By the Time It Gets Dark, is a more overtly political film, taking place against the backdrop of the 1976 Thammasat University massacre. But instead of explicitly discussing the event, a thorny topic still subject to strict government censorship, the film examines the intangible forces of time, memory, and cinema, all of which blur the line between reality and fiction. Rarely mentioning the event, the film follows the everyday lives of characters that include a filmmaker, a pop star, and an unemployed woman constantly changing jobs, without explaining their connection to one another… Moving from country roads to expressways, and through photographs, films, and dreams, its many narratives converge into an Odyssean reflection on the effects of a single moment on the lives of many, even those who do not remember.—Kelly Dong, Film Comment