Mon-Rak Transistor review

"A piece of candy with just a taste of satirical poison at its centre," is how writer/director Pen-ek Ratanaruang describes this bittersweet fable, which is dedicated to '60s Thai pop star Surapol Sombatcharoen.

A prison guard relates the tale of country-boy Pan (Suppakorn Kitsuwan), who marries the beautiful Sadaw (Siriyakorn Pukkavesa). But having been conscripted into the army, our hero goes AWOL and heads to Bangkok intent on winning fame and fortune as a singer.

Mon-Rak Transistor is a colourfully shot illustration of life's unpredictability. The narrative occasionally rambles and the idiosyncratic tone is something of an acquired taste, but there's plenty here to recommend. Not least the spirited performances of the young lovers, amusing set-pieces (including an impoverished Pan crashing a charity benefit) and the soundtrack's slew of retro songs, all bursting with longing and regret.

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