November 5th, 2006
This Thai movie tells the story of the loyal wife who loved so much that she wouldn’t leave her husband, even after death. It is a ghost story.
In the year 1860 in rural Siam (Thailand), Mak and Nak are husband and wife. Mak goes off to war and while he is gone Nak dies in childbirth. When he comes home it takes Mak a long time to find out that this is so, because Nak’s ghost kills everyone who tries to tell him.
The whole story is told at the start by a narrator, and I think Thai people all know it anyway, so there is no suspense here. The enjoyment of the film comes from the beauty of its telling.
In the end Nak’s ghost is banished, but not by the chanting of the local Buddhist monks, not by the villagers who burn down her house, and not by the fraudulent hired ghost-banisher. Only the High Dignitary, a wise Buddhist priest, is strong enough to master her.
In Nak’s tearful farewell scene she tells Mak that she has to go with the Dignitary until she has worked out her karma.
I find this refreshingly different from western ghost tales, where the vanquished spirit generally goes shrieking into hell. Mak then becomes a monk himself.
This film is very beautiful and strange. As a ghost story it is only moderately creepy. Highly recommended.