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with Jesus

Kenji is a quiet, reclusive librarian working in Bangkok who is an obsessive-compulsive, fastidious neat-freak. He is also suicidal. By my count he tries to commit suicide at least eight times in this film, although he is never successful because fate intervenes—the door bell rings, his alarm clock goes off, a coconut falls from a tree, and, most importantly and improbably, he meets the sister of a girl he fancies. Fate is a key theme in this film, as we learn from several intersecting subplots. Kenji is also unsuccessful in his suicide attempts because of friendship with the Thai extrovert call-girl Noi, who is in every sense his opposite. She lives in a rural Thai village in a house that is a pig sty of dirty dishes, trash, and stray dogs. Director Pen-ek Ratanaruang thus fashions their akward, endearing love into a study of the powerful influences of friendship and fortune. This film won awards at festivals in Sundance, Toronto, and Venice, although reviewers have been sharply divided. I liked it and recommend it. In Thai and Japanese, with English subtitles.

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