Filament 2010 - Sol Chang (Elephants on the Streets) by Low Ting Yi


In comparison with the other films screened, this film stands out as the most meticulously painstakingly put-together piece. The back story is thoroughly researched. The filmmakers have spent time pulling enough strings to get close enough to the people and of course the gentle giants. The situations captured reflect a level patience form the filmmakers because those priceless screen moments take time to appear, and often without warning.

The core of the subject matter aside, what is also striking is that Ting Yi has thought about the issue from additional angles. This includes establishing a point about the religious reverene of elephants in Thai culture and also getting another facet of the story from an NGO that seeks to sustainably bring mahouts (and their elephants) back to the villages from they cam from. 

A competent documentary addresses an issue cogently and maturely. But sometimes, we love those transcendental moments where we indulge a little, get lost in the soul of the topic a little and even get emotionally connected. These are the gems that will make us remember the films as not just a presentation of hard facts. For me, there was one here - when the young elephant swayed to the rhythm of folksy Thai pop at the go go bar as it received its garland, as if it could identify itself as being as Thai as anyone out in the streets.

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