Against the picturesque backdrop of rural Japan, two lone travellers find unexpected romance in Anusorn Soisa-Ngim’s Present Perfect. As the young Toey (Adisorn Tonawanik) and Oat (Kritsana Maroukasonti) gradually work out their feelings for each other in the smalltown of Higashikawa, Anusorn observes their growing intimacy at a relaxed pace while taking the time to soak in the cultural specificities of the region.
Speaking to FilmDoo, the Thai director provides some context on this cross-cultural drama.
Was this story inspired by any personal experience?
Yes, it‘s actually based on my personal experience when I was 21 years old but it’s not 100% based on my life, only like 60%.
How did leads Kritsana Maroukasonti and Adisorn Tonawanik get involved in the film?
Well, Kritsana is one of the cast that came for audition. The Oat character needed us to fall in love at first sight and he did that for me when I saw him for the first time. Adisorn is actually my friend from university. When I wrote the script I was actually thinking about him. So I invited him to play this role and he said yes, which is perfect to me. And the Toey character should be sad all the time and Adisorn is sad all the time, ha ha, so I choose him to be Toey.
Present Perfect takes place in the small town of Higashikawa. What do you feel this location adds to the story?
Hmmmm, I wasn’t planning to shot there but when I sent the script to my producer Nuttachai, he said we needed a beautiful location to shot this film and he had studied in Higashikawa before. He said that the place is stunning to view. I didn’t believe him so I went there to see it for myself and I was shocked by how beautiful the town is. After that, I went to ask the mayor of the Higashikawa town to sponsor the film and they accepted my request, so that’s why we went there to shoot the film.
The film makes references to the effect that social media is having on us. Do you think that sites like Facebook can have a positive influence on the way we live?
Yes, definitely! I love Facebook. Facebook is the best way to communicate with people and sometimes Facebook remind us a lot of memories from the past.
Representation for gay men in Japanese cinema is still relatively low. Did you have any difficulty getting this film made or seen in Japan?
Lots of people say that but, in my opinion Japan, is not that conservative. I mean the government gave me a sponsor so I feel like they’re more open-minded than people in my country. When this film premiered in Japan, lots of people came to see, even though they knew it was a gay film before. So it didn’t feel difficult at all.
Do you have any plans for your next film?
Yes, it’s called The Presentation. It will show next year in Thailand.
Watch Present Perfect on FilmDoo