Mekhong Full Moon Party
is a pleasant excursion into one of Thailand’s oldest and most endearing myths. The film is about a metaphorical tussle between the advancing forces of materialistic consumer culture and superstitious Thai tradition, and is played out in a little village on the border with Laos.
The movie ostensibly tackles the annual phenomenon of “Bung Fai Phaya Naga: The King of Naga Fireballs.” Nagas are the sacred mythical serpents coiled around temple entrances, carved in stone in Buddhist folklore. They are said to proffer the mysterious luminescent orbs that rise silently from the Mekhong at the close of Buddhist Lent. Isaan traditionalists celebrate the event as a symbolic offering from Buddha’s underwater disciple, and the Nagas have attained Loch Ness Monster-style notoriety. Mekhong asks whether this belief is outdated: has logic rendered tradition obsolete?
Doctor Norati (Boonchai Limathibul) thinks so; he’s conducting an experiment to prove the fireballs are a natural occurrence: submerged methane is sucked from the riverbed by a sporadically freakish lunar gravitational pull, and ignites when it hits the air. The doctor’s scientific mission piques the locals, who are comfortably settled in their beliefs. Norati’s research apparatus is later smeared in pig dung; a symbolic attack on a project that threatens to undermine the foundations of the local faith.
Meanwhile, native boy Khan (Anuchit Sapanpon), who now lives in Bangkok, is embarrassed by the fuss caused by this archaism. During his youth, he helped the venerable Good Father, Luang Poh Loh (Nopadol Duangporn), secretly plant the monks’ mysterious fireball eggs in strategic nooks in the riverbed. But fearing a media expose and sick of the trashing of his hometown during the Naga festival, the calcified Khan refuses to maintain the sham.
Mekhong Full Moon Party is a journey into one of Thailand's most oldest and bewitching myths.Running time:
Anuchit Sapanpong, Thidaratana, CharoernchaichanaDirector: