DOI BOY

By Nontawat NUMBENCHAPOL

ANTI-ARCHIVE - as PROD

Fantasy - Development 2019

Sorn, an ethnic Shan sex worker, escapes his bitter reality in Chiang Mai by projecting himself into his clients’ lives.

    • Year of production
    • 2019
    • Genres
    • Fantasy, LGBT, Drama
    • Countries
    • THAILAND, CAMBODIA
    • Budget
    • 0.6 - 1 M$
    • Duration
    • 96 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Nontawat NUMBENCHAPOL
    • Writer(s)
    • Nontawat NUMBENCHAPOL
    • Producer(s)
    • Steve CHEN (Anti-Archive), Supatcha THIPSENA (Mobile Lab Project)
    • Synopsis
    • Sorn is a 21-year-old Shan man who is interviewed about his life. He is from the buffer state between Thailand and Myanmar, living as an undocumented refugee in Chiang Mai, Thailand in order to find a better life. Every day he wakes up at 3pm, drives his big motorbike to a spa, and lifts weights until he hears a bell ring to line up with other Shan boys. When he’s picked, he takes male and female clients upstairs to perform sexual services. The job pays well and supports the education of his little brother, Chan. But Sorn and his friends face oppression, being “invisible”
      to the government, and having neither physical nor social mobility.

      To cope, Sorn projects himself into the lives of his clients, assuming identities and doing things he can only imagine, like commuting on a Bangkok Skytrain, or sunbathing on the beach. Sorn meets a local Shan girl, Bee, whose story of her boyfriend recalls his escape from the doi (mountain) in the Shan State to find his ex-girlfriend in Chiang Mai. Sorn and his Shan friend try to buy black market passports, but their money is taken and his friend and his friend is jailed and deported for deserting the Shan state military. The spa shuts down because the owner cannot pay the bribery fees to the military government and Sorn faces dire options. Sorn gives up Bee because he realizes neither of them can support one another.

      Sorn eventually lands a job as a striptease dancer and meets a former client, an older Korean female film director named Seung Hee, fascinated with Sorn’s life story. Some imagines himself following Seung Hee to Seoul to act in a film paralleling Sorn’s journey from the war-racked Shan highlands to the nightlife of Chiang Mai. He proposes to Chan that if he becomes an actor in Korea, he will send money back for his education in Chiang Mai. But Chan has always been unhappy with Sorn’s job, and finds no purpose of being in Thailand without Sorn. Chan presses to return to the doi, and Sorn adamantly refuses, reminding him of their father’s death as a soldier and the oppressive alternative of being forced to fight the Burmese. Sorn starts to imagine himself as a mythical creature that begins to take flight at night, but suddenly comes crashing down to the earth. In the end, Sorn, in the interview room with Seung Hee, is asked about his greatest hopes and fears. He says that his biggest dream is to have a passport for freedom, but that he fears Chan returning to the Shan State. As he reveals his heart, his body vanishes, externalizing his liminal state, without an identity and having no clear future.
    • Production schedule
    • Shooting Early 2019