"Dao Khanong (By the Time It Gets Dark) is my attempt to deal with the impossibility of making a historical film in the place where there is no history. What begins as a single narrative soon becomes fragmented, and ultimately devours itself. There are no beginning or ending points. Time is both transfixed and moving. The four main characters in the film (played by seven actors) relate to one another spatially, as well as temporally. They drift in and out of reality and dreams, suspended at the point where art intersects life – where cinema is born. It is my intention to create in Dao Khanong the fertile time for remembering. It is also an ode to cinema, the recording machine for memory and history.
When I was learning English in primary school, one of the most memorable lessons was the present perfect progressive tense – ‘I have been’, ‘you have been’, ‘she has been’. For native English speakers, it’s evident what this tense is. But as a speaker of Thai, one of many non-tense languages, including Chinese, it was hugely interesting. The present perfect progressive is used for something that is ongoing; for something that happened in the past and continues through the present. I remember how good I felt to be able to add a new tense to the three tenses that I had already mastered: past, present, and future.
￼Then, as my English got a little more advanced, I learnt that there was yet another tense, the past perfect progressive tense – ‘I had been’, ‘She had been’, ‘They had been’. As opposed to the present perfect progressive, in which something continues to happen, the past perfect progressive signifies that something used to happen in the past and continued to happen for some time, but it finished. Or maybe it didn’t finish. It just hasn’t continued. Expiration.
There are far too many actions, anecdotes, incidents, and events that take place personally, socially, and historically in one’s life-time. Perhaps that is why we are bound to forget. For if we could remember everything, how could we ever get out of bed in the morning?
We would be so weighed down by the heavy burden of history. We forget so we can go on living. It is just as well. We forget. It is just as well. Perhaps only in our dreams can we remember."