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Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival
The Island Funeral

Thu 29 March 2018

Laila is a smart and confident woman, but what makes her feel different is the fact that she belongs to the 5% Muslim minority in a predominantly Buddhist country. She has always felt caught between two worlds: one of traditional Muslim values as impressed upon her by her family and the community in which she grew up, and of being part of a minority in the ‘global village’ of Bangkok.

Laila, along with her brother Zugood, and a friend Toy, embark on a road trip down south. As the three set off from Bangkok, conflict and political turmoil take over the capital, as they venture further south. Yet, away from the political tension of the city, they are seemingly oblivious to the volatile situation and violent outbreaks that have been present in the south of Thailand for many years. The tense atmosphere is palpable, with increased military presence in the area. Over the course of a 1,000km road trip, fragmented images from Laila’s past surface, from her family, life, work and love, which overlap with the memories of those around her, while feelings of insecurity for the three of them intensify as they travel further towards an unknown destination.

On the way, they cross paths with Surin, a young soldier from the northeast of the country. Seemingly caught in a never-ending journey through this danger zone, Surin is just a regular guy from the country, risking his life in this no-man’s land, simply to save up in order to marry his girlfriend. Unable to comprehend the local conflict, he feels like an outsider and isolated. Only memories and hope keep him going. The four decide to continue their journey together and they head off on a road which leads them to a land stranger than any they could ever have imagined.