Review: ‘Happy Berry’

Documaker Thunska Pansittivorakul's loving cinema verite portrait of a band of kids running their own hip clothing store and trying to get a band off the ground. A much closer and more authentic feeling of the pulse of Thai youth culture than MTV-produced vid-docs on Yank counterparts. Will pick up a semi-underground crowd in vid after a solid fest tour.

“Happy Berry” is documaker Thunska Pansittivorakul’s loving cinema verite portrait of a band of kids running their own hip clothing store and trying to get a band off the ground. In many ways, this is a much closer and more authentic feeling of the pulse of Thai youth culture than similarly bouncy but far slicker MTV-produced vid-docs on Yank counterparts. Like Yutaka Tsuchiya’s more radical “Peep ‘TV’ Show,” “Berry” reps a new trend serving raw slices of alternative urban Asian culture, and will pick up a semi-underground crowd in vid after a solid fest tour.

Core foursome comprises Joe and three energetic but different gals, Koi, Third and Gack (as is norm for younger Thai folks, they all go by short nicknames rather than much longer proper Thai names). First half observes their combined hard work mixed with fun as they run a popular clothing shop, suitably named Happy Berry (also their label). Their goofy attempts to break into pop stardom don’t take them very far, and latter minutes suggest the fun won’t last forever.

Happy Berry

Thailand

Production

A Modern Films Production presentation. (International sales: Modern Films Production, Berkeley.) Produced by Roger Garcia. Co-producer, Happy Berry. Directed by Thunska Pansittivorakul.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Pansittivorakul; editors, Sopon Sukdapsit, Pansittivorakul; music, Happy Berry. Reviewed at VC Filmfest, Los Angeles, May 1, 2004. (Also in Hong Kong Film Festival.) Running time: 76 MIN.

With

Roampol "Joe" Rochanakit, Chayathip "Koi" Rungpungtong, Chatthip "Third" Chanlertfa, Wanwimon "Gack" Nuntavijarn, Sura "Nicky" Thirakol, Reomrumpai Rochanakit.
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