The wandering spirit of a dead man returns to happy moments from his mortal life in “Eternity.” Pic reps an uneven debut for Thai helmer Sivaroj Kongsakul, a former assistant to arthouse directors Pen-ek Ratanaruang (“Ploy”) and Aditya Assarat (“Wonderful Town”), whose influences are writ large here. Visually attractive and not without touching moments, this metaphysical love story is much too long and teeters toward tedium more than once. A tough commercial sell even on home turf, pic looks set for a reasonable fest run and has minor potential as a specialty broadcast item. Thai release is as yet unskedded.
Toughest test for viewers is the dialogue-free 20-minute opening, in which the middle-aged ghost of Wit (Prapas Amnuay) rides a motorbike down dusty country roads and wanders through an empty house before taking a small boat to the middle of a river. In a lovely transition from present to past, Wit dives in the water and comes to the surface as his younger, living self (Wanlop Rungkamjad).
Bulk of the running time shows Wit’s courtship of Koi (Namfon Udomlertlak), a sweet-natured city girl who has come to meet his family. While it is refreshing to watch a nice young couple engage in chaste and tender romance, Kongsakul and co-editor Nuttorn Kangwanklai linger needlessly on innocuous detail, as if a steady flow of long takes with minimal activity will automatically cast the required spell over target arthouse auds.
Final reel gets the balance right. Now a widow and mother, Koi bravely carries on with life in scenes that are genuinely moving and tie up many of Wit and Koi’s earlier discussions on their hopes for the future.
Lensing by Umpornpol Yugala (“Wonderful Town”) is topnotch. Early sequences following Wit’s ghost and the closing chapter with widowed Koi are slightly desaturated, contrasting vividly with the lively color scheme during the couple’s courtship. Impressive soundscape employs low bass-rumble atmospherics in ghostly sequences and neatly positions Qong Mongkon’s elegant guitar-driven score in happier times. The rest of the tech work is pro.