Rating: 1 star out of five.
The Stars: Jittikorn Sorachan, Lakkana Wattanawongsiri, Nattakan Anumartchimplee, Pasweepitch Sornakarapa, Prakasit Bosuwan, Warintorn Yarujjanon.
The Story:Brown Sugar is actually a collection of three erotic short films by three different Thai indie directors obtrusively strung together. It begins by attempting to explain the title of the movie with an unhappily married woman who seeks solace from a beach resort handyman. The other stories feature a pair of supposed adulterers, two teenagers in lust and a masseuse having naughty fantasies about the tattoo artist working next door.
The Buzz: Sahamongkol Film International produced Brown Sugar in support of the new generation of Thai filmmakers. This project also marks the country’s first foray into a new wave of “cinema erotica”, having been liberated from 80 years of strict censorship and embracing its revamped movie ratings system.
inSing.com says: Things seem to be getting hot and heavy this year with a relentless onslaught of raunchy films; first there was Natali, South Korea’s virgin attempt at 3D erotica, and then the much buzzed-about remake of Hong Kong’s Sex & Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, also in real D, which hits our cinemas at the end of July. And to whet audiences’ appetites in the meantime, we have Thailand’s very own brand of sexy in Brown Sugar.
While there are some interesting aspects and unexpected splashes of quirky humour – in particular the little twist in Deesatta’s second segment “Prostitute on the Bed”, the rest of the anthology gives off an overly experimental vibe with the makings of a low budget Taiwanese drama series. Complete with tacky visuals and jarring rock/pop melodies often blared at inopportune moments, followed by stretches of awkward silences. Even actress Wattanawongsiri’s controversial 10 minute self-pleasuring scene in the final short is not enough to titillate, and comes across as a cheap attempt to push the envelope.
Brown Sugar is undeniably awful in ways you never thought a Thai film could be, but is also a rather commendable effort at pushing the boundaries of viewership acceptance in the country.