[Film] Manila


Directed by Anucha Boonyawatana


A distraught man contemplates his mortality through his terminally ill lover from a meditative state of mind.

Impermanence in Buddhism is an inescapable truth of existence.  In a world and culture where we strive for permanence, Buddhism teaches us that impermanence is fundamental to everything.  From life to death to joy to sorrow to material objects to our very own identity, nothing is permanent no matter how much we want it to be.  Everything is always changing; existence is always in flux.

Left by his wife and forever changed by his daughter’s death, Shane losses his life meaning. When the former lovers revisited, the haunts of their past, reminisces of the better days rekindle their past relationship. His lover, Pitch who excel in crafting Bai Siri, an intricate and beautiful ceremonial flower display made from folded banana leaves and threaded with white jasmine flowers, which is used in monk’s ordination exemplify how flowers like human beings wilt and wither even as they’re being made — a fact that we are all dying day by day as we go along.

Along came meditation and mindfulness. After Shane ordained as a monk, wandering in the forest, h started thinking about impermanence. He could fixate on the past and try to restore something that was gone, but that would be useless. The expression is sadly true: you can’t go back to the past.  Forcing himself wanting to believe the things he wanted to believe and realized all was an empty false hope, he confronted by a dead body. He finally finds release from his past when he says goodbye to his lover.

This movie adopts a fitting metaphor for the fragility of life and the inevitability of death. Like the art of crafting Thai Bai Sri ornaments, all flowers are doomed from the start they are blossomed, as beautiful as it is, it is short lived.