Connect with us
Phuttiphong Aroonpheng - Manta Ray


Video Interview: Phuttiphong Aroonpheng – Manta Ray

Video Interview: Phuttiphong Aroonpheng – Manta Ray

As ubiquitous on the fall festival circuit as it is excellent, Thai border drama Manta Ray ticks all the boxes: it’s an accomplished arthouse hit, a new exciting voice to discover, and a timely story with serious social cachet. Director Phuttiphong Aroonpheng has crafted a spellbinding debut that frames the issue of the Rohingya people (the Muslim minority that has long been persecuted in Myanmar, driving refugees toward the borders of neighboring countries like Thailand) indirectly, focusing on the plight of one man with no voice and the fisherman who takes him in. A former DP, Aroonpheng advances his story almost purely through images and music (the French duo Snowdrops do a lot of heavy lifting with their substantial score), but the warmth and the intensity of his humanism is never sacrificed to the aesthetics.

After winning the Orizzonti prize in Venice, the film has embarked on a long festival tour that increasingly feels like a victory lap. I sat down with Aroonpheng on his return to Asia for his last festival of the year, Macao, where Manta Ray plays in the Best of Fest section.

A freelance film critic and programmer, Tommaso Tocci is based between Paris and Rome. He covers the European festival circuit and he's a member of FIPRESCI and the International Cinephile Society. His Top 3 for 2021: After Blue (Bertrand Mandico), Titane (Julia Ducournau), What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? (Alexandre Koberidze).

Click to comment

More in Interviews

To Top