Eternity -- Film Review



BUSAN, South Korea -- Three stages of a man's life are explored in "Eternity," an otherwise standard romance that's gifted with graceful photography and a central relationship blessedly lacking in conflict.

Comparisons to producer Aditya Assarat's "Wonderful Town" are inevitable given the similar tone, pace and subject matter. Although "Eternity" is its own beast it's Assarat's influence that will attract festivals and distributors looking for the next "Wonderful Town."

There are times when "Eternity" feels just like that, beginning with the opening 15-minute segment where a dead Wit (Wanlop Rungkumjad) wanders empty rural roads (a continuing motif, along with water) as a spirit looking for his hometown. The segment finally transitions beautifully to the main story detailing his life as a younger man courting his eventual wife Koi (Namfon Udomlertlak), concluding with the widowed Koi having dinner with her -- and we assume -- Wit's children.

While "Eternity" lacks a great deal of forward momentum, the budding relationship between Wit and Koi is rooted in moving genuine affection as opposed to lust, and when they finally turn that corner (Koi jumps into the water with him), we know they are "forever."

Koi's stoic plodding along in life in his absence is simultaneously heartbreaking and admirable. 

When the film is over the bond between the couple we now understand better puts Wit's initial anxiousness over finding his home in a new perspective. It also serves to round out a film that up to that point, however elegantly illustrated it is, has more than its share of drag and needlessly gratuitous atmosphere building. We only need one Assarat.

New Currents, Pusan International Film Festival

A Pop Pictures, Red Snapper production.

Cast: Wanlop Rungkumjad, Namfon Udomlertlak, Prapas Amnuay, Pattraporn Jaturnanrasmee.
Director: Sivaroj Kongsakul.
Writer: Sivaroj Kongsakul.
Producer: Aditya Assarat, Soros Sukhum Umpornpol Yugala.
Director of photography: Umpornpol Yugala.Co-producers: Preethep Boondej, Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr.
Music: Qong.
Editors: Sivaroj Kongsakul, Nuttorn Kungwanklai.
MPAA rating: No MPAA rating, 102 minutes.