The Motion Picture Teller by Colin Cotterill: A review
set in Laos and featured Dr. Siri. Dr. Siri is a wonderful character and one can hope that we might see him again at some point. But in the meantime, Cotterill has written this book which is a standalone novel set in Bangkok.
The book's main character is Supot, a postman with the Royal Thai Postal Service. His job is postman but his life is all about appreciation for classic movies. He and his best friend, Ali, who owns a video store, spend every possible moment of their lives watching those movies. They are obsessed with the old Western movies and their stars, especially the female stars.
The two are completely dismissive of modern Thai cinema and spend plenty of their time denigrating it. But then something happens to radically change their views.
A cassette with the title Bangkok 2010 is delivered to Ali's store. They have no idea where it came from or why it was sent to Ali, but after watching it, the two friends agree that it is the most brilliant Thai film they have ever seen.
It is a dystopian film set in Thailand. In the film, the country is run by chauvinistic Security Council officers. The female star of the movie is named Siriluk and she is everything that Ali and Supot could dream of in a woman.
But the film comes with a mystery. The mystery is that nobody has ever heard of it or of any of the people associated with the film. Why would anyone make such a brilliant film and then not release it and why has no one ever heard of any of the actors, the director, or any of the crew?
Supot is determined to solve the mystery of the film. His first step is to write to Siriluk. She responds at first but only to ask him not to show the film to anybody. But as he continues writing to her, she stops responding. Supot, however, follows his obsession by traveling deep into the Thai countryside looking for answers. And he finds that there is a curse on the movie. Will it ever be able to be shown to the public?
Colin Cotterill writes with a light touch. All of his books are notable for their frequent uses of humor to make a point. Supot is a lovable character in the same mold as Dr. Siri and I suspect we may see more of him in the future, even though this book is billed as a "standalone." That would be okay with me. I quite enjoyed the character and the book.