Anocha Suwichakornpong’s latest feature entitled Come Here opens with a lingering shot inside a moving train-car. The viewer, paralysed in place, is forced to view the endless array of flora gliding past the window frame. Where is the train going? When will this journey end? Is there any real reason to be on this train ride to begin with? The opening scene, while disjointed from the rest of the piece from afar, offers a glimpse into Suwichakornpong’s directional intent. Come Here is an aimless feature — a film more dependent on atmosphere and even sensual detail over a traditional structure. The formless nature of each evocative shot composition creates a tranquil atmosphere that continuously lingers throughout its meager 69 minute runtime.
Without a single semblance of a clearcut narrative in sight, Suwichakornpong instead depends on brief vignettes that connect each of its characters in various scattershot moments. The viewer is succumbed with multiple breathtaking locations, as the film continuously lingers through each set piece. In many ways, Come Here is a film that highlights the parting with the old, the personal conforming with the present, and the euphoric preparation for the future. A film that moulds time and space together, in a somewhat cosmic spiritual journey of the soul. Combining stunning shots of nature and the recurring beats of both the permanent closure of the Dusit Zoo and the performance-based imitation of the animals from the observing characters themselves; Suwichakornpong attempts to break every basic rule of conventional filmmaking in the book.
As commendable and admirable the direction of Come Here is, there’s still plenty lacking beneath it’s hollow and fragmented structure. For a film of this sort of poetic magnitude, there’s something about the interlinking of each of the characters that felt unnecessary. In a film dependent on these scattershot moments of relieved memory; experiencing each of the presented scenes independently — without any recollection of the previously introduced characters — would have enhanced the abstract and purposefully designed structure. Especially since the film is also designed to provoke a reactionary emotion from its viewer; some of the more staggering and abstract moments would have created a more connective impact on arrival, if the film went with a completely separated narrative layout. The concept of a sole observer witnessing an obscure event is far more intriguing and alluring than one experienced with a collective group.
Perhaps I’m being a little too harsh on Come Here; a film purposefully created to induce its viewer into a comatose state. It’s a film bound to lure its audience into a peaceful and isolated slumber; one that relies more on the reactions of its viewer rather than the emulated memories and plot beats presented throughout its flimsy “narrative”. Suwichakornpong presents her material with a uniquely dreamlike quality; a film completely rooted in her own attempts at remodelling and testing her own boundaries. As a work of well-intentioned experimentation, Come Here is an admirable piece of work. As a film dependent on reactionary emotions and experiences from its viewer, the film barely satisfies due to its indecisive lack of a more formless cinematic venture.
Dir: Anocha Suwichakornpong
Runtime: 69 minutes
Come Here premiered in the Forum program as part of this year’s 71st Berlinale. The film is currently seeking international distribution.