154MC: East Winds Film Review #2

The Teachers Diary

Initial research on ‘The Teachers Diary’ showed that this film was of the Romantic genre, which did not appeal to me personally at first. However, my early negative thoughts on the film were changed when the influx of comedy began and continued throughout the film, reforming my thoughts on the Asian film industry.

This Thai drama/comedy revolves around the separate stories of two teachers, Ann and Song, who find themselves living a lonely life as they teach a small boathouse school, but Anne a year apart before Song. Anne is forced to leave her job as a teacher at a state school when she refuses to remove a tattoo of a large star shape on her wrist. After being relocated to an isolated floating school that rests on the lake near local fishing families, Ann writes about her personal and professional life in a small diary, noting the trials of her on/off relationship with boyfriend Nui and the hardships of teaching young students with little professional future. When Ann returns home to be closer to her now fiancé and work at the school he is deputy head of, Song is given the job to teach at the boathouse. Song, a former wrestling athlete who has endured his own troubled love-life, finds Ann’s diary and soon falls in love with her despite never meeting her or even seeing a picture of her, all he knows is she has a star-shaped tattoo. Song leaves the school and Ann returns to take his place and finds that he has read her diary and written responses, sharing with her his own stories of life as a secluded teacher. The film constantly changes between the past and present lives of the characters until both finally meet each other in present. I cannot stress the word ‘finally’ enough as we, the audience, are constantly tortured into believing the two are close to be united, only for it to be false hope.

This leaves the audience constantly anticipating the inevitable ending, where they finally when Ann makes a desperate last ditch attempt to find Song at the school, which she does. The film ends with them staring lovingly into each other’s eyes as she hands him the diary, then spoils it with a final attempt of humour as Song has to shout above the sound of a generator to greet her.

Directed by Nithiwat Tharathorn, the film has been nominated for the 87th Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film and I agree with this nomination as I found the film to be heart-warming and comical, however it lacked any tricks in it’s cinematography, such as unusual camera angels or special effects. The exclusion of these elements actually adds to the serenity of the movie but I believe that even one of these options could have added to the impact of the film.

teachers-english2

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