By the Time It Gets Dark (2016) - full transcript

In 1970, She was student activist, a waitress who keeps changing her job, now a film director. All lives loosely connected to each others.

What are you looking at?
Heads down!

Heads down in the front row.
Crouch down. Don't look up.

No talking to each other.

More brutal!

Be more brutal!

Just walk in.

Hands behind your back.

Kick them if you want.

Feet together!

Point the guns at them!

Keep your head down!

Don't fall asleep!

Be tougher on them!

Keep guarding!


- It's beautiful, isn't it?
- Yes, it's incredible.

I knew you'd like it. I fell in love
with it the first time I came.

That's why I brought you here.

Well, that's everything.

If there's nothing else,
I'll excuse myself.

I've a meeting
at the community centre.

- You have my number, right?
- Yes, you can go now.

- You don't want to be late.
- Bye for now.

Let me show you the house.

- It's nice.
- Yes.

There's another bedroom upstairs.

This room is bigger.

I think you should take it.
I'll sleep downstairs.

- You should take it.
- No, you should.

Really, I'd prefer you to have it.

I don't like big bedrooms anyway.

How strange.

By the way, can we have
our first session this afternoon?

If you're not too tired from the trip...

No, that's fine.
When shall we start?

Around 3:00pm
so you'll have time to rest.

Then I'll rest for an hour or two.

OK, me too.
I didn't get much sleep last night.

Are you ready?


What do you prefer?
Short or long answers?

As you wish.
Take as much time as you need.

OK. Ready.

It's recording.

The story of your change from
the 'It Girl' at university

to a protest leader
is very well-known.

I'd like to go back a bit.

Can you tell me
about your childhood?

I was born in Sri Racha, in Chonburi.

My father was in the navy.

When he was 30, he was stationed
at the navy base in Sattahib.

That's where I grew up.

Back then
Sattahib was a really small town.

But for a young girl like me
who'd never been to a city,

of course I wouldn't have known
just how small it was.

Everybody knew each other.

You were an only child, right?


I think my parents wanted
to have another child.

A boy.
But they weren't able to.

And what was it like
growing up as an only child?

Great. Just great.

People often think that
it must be lonely, being an only child.

Most parents want more than one
so the children can play together.

I was just glad
I didn't have to share my parents,

or rather, their love, with anyone.

It wasn't until I went to university

that I realised
how sheltered I had been.

I didn't know
how to do much for myself...

...while all my friends
were completely capable.

So I wanted to be like them.

But how could he accept
a cabinet position?

This government has no legitimacy.

Don't forget how they came to power.
On the back of a military coup!

For our rector to accept a post
in this cabinet is a total disgrace.

It shows
he's just a power-hungry animal.

It's like he's spitting in our faces,
saying "fuck you" to democracy!

But if he doesn't accept,
someone else will.

It could even be an army general.

Then we'll be seriously fucked.

Yes. At least an academic
is better than a soldier.

Is that our only choice,
an academic or a soldier?

At least he's our rector.
He's a good man.

- What's a 'good' man?
- He's not corrupt.

The fact that he sided with the coup

means that he has no respect
for our university.

Why don't we give him a chance?

The chance for a cabinet position

is not a rector's responsibility!


I can't accept this.

I'm going to protest outside
the Students' Union tomorrow morning.

I need to prepare
banners and flyers tonight.

- Anyone going to help me?
- Count me in.

Me too.

Good. Thanks.

Hurry up, before the guards get here.


What the hell?!

We should go now, Comrade!

Let's buy some water.

How many bottles would you like?

That's not enough.

- Wow.
- I drink a lot.

Did you sleep well?

Yes, I did.

This place is so quiet.

You can hear a lot of insects,
especially at night.

Aren't you hungry?
Don't you want any breakfast?

I'll have something to eat in a bit.

Your food looks good.

It's quite tasty.

Excuse me,
where are the coffee beans from?

- We use Maneepruek coffee here.
- Maneepruek?

Yes, it's the local bean.
Do you know it?

The supplier is an American guy
but he speaks fluent Thai,

even the local dialect.

- It tastes good.
- Thank you.

Are you here on vacation?

Not really.
We're here to work on a film script.

Wow, really? What kind of film?

Well, it's a drama... of sorts.

I'm writing a script
based on the life of this lady here.

You're embarrassing me.

I don't think kids these days
know about me.

Taew is a famous writer.

Don't say any more.

And if you're writing about her life,
you must be a writer too, then?

No, I'm actually a film director.

But I like to write my own scripts.

You should give it to her to write.
She's a writer.

Yes, you're right.

And it's about her life,
so it's her story.

You're quite right.
Maybe I will. Thanks for the tip.

- Can I order some breakfast, please?
- Yes.

- Do you have rice soup?
- Yes, with pork or chicken?

We can also do mushrooms.

Mushrooms sound good.
What kind do you have?

Shiitake and oyster mushrooms.

The oyster mushrooms are
fresh from the farm this morning.

OK. I'll have
the oyster mushrooms, then.

What made you decide
to join the movement?

No matter how many times
I've been asked that,

it's never been easy to answer.

I guess there isn't really one answer.

It was a combination of things.

You have to understand
that back then

we really fought
for what we believed in.

There was no money involved.

No one hired you to protest,
unlike nowadays.

When we saw something unjust,
we protested.

We wanted to put things right.
We wanted democracy.

It simply wasn't an option
for me not to join.

What did your parents think?

My father was very much
against the idea.

As for my mother,
even though she didn't really agree

she didn't stop me.
I'm her daughter, after all.

Did you ever think
that your fight wouldn't succeed?

Not at all.
Succeeding or not wasn't an issue.

We did our best
as it was our responsibility.

Do you think you made a sacrifice?

Yes. I think it was.

Were you scared?


When the situation
became more heated,

I felt vengeful
because we were the victims.

We were the victims.

You've been through
so much in your life.

If you had a chance
to talk to your younger self,

would you have anything
to say to her?


Was there any romance back then?


With another student?


Can you tell me more?

This is how we grow our mushrooms,
the traditional way.

Do we have a flashlight?

I think I saw some candles
in the kitchen.

What are you looking at?

Our reflections on the TV screen.
It's quite beautiful.

You know, I've never asked you this,

but why did you want to make a film
based on my life?

I don't know.

You don't know
or you don't want to tell me?


It's hard to explain really.

But I feel that
you've lived through so much,

when I read books
on October 1976

and think of you
having been in the midst of it all.

And that you're still here.

It's like...'re living history.

Your life is meaningful.

A life worth living.

Whereas me, I appropriate
someone's life and turn it into a film.

Maybe because my life
is quite mundane.

There's one thing you're wrong about.

I'm not living history.

I'm just a survivor.

Would you sing me a song?

The moon

The moon shines so beautifully

Wow, how come you picked
such an old song?

It's a song I remember well
from my childhood.

Don't tease me

I'm just a moon

Hiding in the clouds

When the clouds disappear

The moon will reappear in the sky

But it won't come down

Well, I think I'll go to bed now.


When I was a kid,

about 7 or 8 years old,

I used to practise telekinesis.

I read that you can move an object
just by staring at it

and you can control it with your mind.

I began practising this...

...but only when I was by myself,


...I didn't want
anyone to know my secret.

One day,

it happened.


I was concentrating
on an empty glass.

Suddenly, it started to move.

I was so excited...

I tried to keep calm.

My bedroom door was unlocked.

I was afraid someone might walk in.

But luckily, no one did.

I concentrated very hard.

I was able to move it around,
left and right.

But not very much each time,
just a few inches.

Then, I concentrated even harder.


...the glass moved
about one foot across the table...

I... very excited.

At the same time,
I was so exhausted...

...and scared...


I felt...

I felt like I'd used up all my energy.

So I decided to stop for the day.

I remember going to bed that night.

I couldn't get to sleep for a long time.

That was probably the first time
I experienced insomnia.

Maybe I was too excited.

But it never came back again.

I still don't know exactly why.

Maybe because I told
my best friend at school

the next day during lunch break.

I don't know...

No matter how many times I tried,

even with lighter objects, like a pen,

even then... never worked again.

Since then,
I've never talked about it.

Slowly, slowly Gently, gently

A flock of birds have flown

But a bird, a single bird

Is all alone like me

A heart, a bleeding heart

Beats so slowly

My love, why do you avoid me?

O dearest, you are too cold

Does anyone know such pain

Caused by the absence
of a loved one

Once I had you by my side

Now it's as if that never happened

Keep talking...

About the sky and the earth

Night after night, time passes

It's as if nothing ever happened

Taew, please go inside
or you'll get wet.

It's ok. I've got it.

It's beautiful, isn't it?

Yes, it's incredible.

I fell in love with it
first time I came here.

I thought you'd like it.
That's why I wanted to bring you here.

Well, that's everything.

Please excuse me. I have a meeting
at the community centre.

Are you sure you're OK
with a motorbike?

I can ask my friend to lend you a car.

Where did you find
this little guardian angel?

I'd better be off then.

- You have my number, right?
- Yes, I do.

See you.

Let me show you the house.

There's another bedroom upstairs.

- Shall we take a look?
- Sure.

This room is a little bit bigger.
I think you should take it.

I think you should take this one.

No, I'll take the one downstairs.
I prefer small bedrooms.

- Really?
- Sure.

OK, then.

Can we start this afternoon?
If you're not too tired from the trip...

No, that's fine. It's still early.

I have time to rest, right?

Yes, of course.

It's only 10 o'clock.
What time do you usually have lunch?

Around 12:00.

So, I'll rest for a bit
and we'll have lunch later?

Yes. I'll be downstairs
if you need anything.

Please make yourself at home.

I like your eyes.

I like your ears.

I like your lips.

Do you love me?

The weather's good today.

Please don't lie to me

Darling, don't lie to me

Even if you don't tell me

One day the wind will call on me

I'm not ready to face the truth

Because once I wanted
to share my life with you

Please don't lie to me

Darling, don't lie to me

Although we still see each other
every day

But I see the changes in your eyes

The sweetness in your voice
has gone, long gone

Please don't lie to me

Darling, don't lie to me

- Do you want it?
- Sure.

Two bottles of beer, please.

And another bucket of ice.

The crab here is really good.

Better than the place yesterday.

Don't enjoy it too much.
Aren't you on a diet?

Crab isn't fatty.

It's just high in cholesterol.

I was only joking.
Don't get so defensive.

Eat this.

Just get on that boat, the two of you.

Peter, what are you up to these days?

Same old, same old.
Still working with the prince.

But I just got an interesting offer.

It's an indie film. Indie means...

...not much money.


I'm quite tempted

because the director said
she wrote the part for me.

Directors always say that.

"I wrote this part just for you."

You're a fool to believe that.


- Maybe I'm a fool this time.
- You're always like that.

In fact, I've always been a fool.

Excuse me.
Peter, can I take a photo with you?


- Can you, please?
- Of course.


Her friends...

One... two... three...

Thank you.

Thank you, Ton.

Your birthday present.

- Whose birthday?
- New Year present.

Christmas present.

So sweet.

All wrapped up in one.

This weather makes me drowsy.

- Hey, Peter!
- Tak.

How are you?
Haven't seen you in ages.

- Pun, this is Peter.
- Hi, Peter.

Hi, Pun.

This is Chompoo.
Chompoo, this is Tak.

Of course, I know who she is.

- How are you doing?
- I'm fine. And you?

I'm fine.
Shooting a few films right now.

- What about you?
- I'm taking a break for now.

I want to concentrate
on my own film... as a director.

Oh really? That's great.

Are you going out now?

Yeah, we just got here
and Pun's hungry.

We just had a big lunch too.
I'm so sleepy now!

Well, I won't keep you.
Best of luck with the project.

Thank you. Bye.

- I'm full.
- No wonder you are.

6 kilos of crab and beer too.


Yes. I can talk.



I'm very sorry to hear that.

What happened?

Peter has just died in a car accident.

Our Peter?



A few hours ago.

We're almost done.
Shall we continue?

We're almost done.
Shall we continue?

Let's continue.

Pang, go ahead.

"You're home late again.
Speak tomorrow, Mum."


...the radio broadcast
was going on non-stop.

It was getting late, so I went to bed.

When I woke up in the morning,

I went downstairs

and I heard what had happened
at Thammasat University.

The TV station... Channel 9

had broadcast footage
of the shootings that had taken place.

What I saw shocked me deeply

because I hadn't expected
such violence on this scale.

For example, the image of...

...people who were forced
to lie face down on the football pitch.

The military backed students,
the Red Gaurs, the Village Scouts

and other unspecified groups

who were beating them down

and dragging the dead bodies out
to burn them.

I saw the image
of people being burned

beneath a pile of car tyres
and set on fire.

I might have read about

the methods with which
the government clamped down

on what they called "the terrorists".

They'd be thrown out of helicopters
or set on fire in oil barrels.

I had never seen such brutality
with my own eyes.

It made me...

It just left me cold... and drained.

I recall collapsing into a chair

and just staring at the images
in front of me.

I couldn't believe my eyes.


...the next thing...

...that came into my head

was that I couldn't stay here any longer.

I couldn't...

I couldn't live in a society
that allowed this to happen.

Buddhism shall continue
to flourish around the world.

And the lives of its devotees

will prosper...

...and shine as brightly
as hundreds of thousands of lanterns

lit by devotees
on the magical night of Makha Bucha,

an auspicious day, significant
to the world and the universe.