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Festivals Film Reviews Raindance Film Festival 2024

Review: Satu – Year of the Rabbit

  • Release year: 2024
  • Director: Joshua Trigg.
  • Producers: Mimm Chainontee, James Chegwyn, Emanuele Constantini, Lee Phongsavanh, Rory Rooney and Suthida Sihasavetra.
  • Screenplay by: Joshua Trigg.
  • Cinematography by: James Chegwyn.
  • Music by: Joshua Szweda.

Synopsis: a runaway teenage girl and an orphan kid go on a journey in search of his mother.

Shotgun Commentary: wholesome story about growing up with spectacular photography.

Still from Satu – Year of the Rabbit (Josh Trigg, 2024).

Review

Satu – Year of the Rabbit follows the adventure of Bo (Vanthiva Saysana) and Satu (Itthiphone Sonepho). The first one is a teenager searching for the story that will get her into a journalism career, and the second, a child looking for his birth mother. Together, they will overcome every obstacle on their way to achieve their goals.

The feature is as uplifting and pure as it sounds. During their journey to the village where Satu’s mother lives, they encounter a variety of difficulties. These teach them valuable lessons about the world that surrounds them, as well as about themselves and each other. The whole narrative is covered with a childlike excitement. This makes their troubles look less negative or dangerous than they actually are, and their joy become incredibly contagious.

Lessons in cinematography

The emotional weight of the film is carried mostly by the photography. Granted, both protagonists deliver a great performance. However, their environment does almost as much in terms of storytelling. The scenery is superb, a display of some of nature’s best feature one right after the other. The bright colours of nature match the intensity of those attached to the characters, making them blend in or stand out depending on the moment. The whole film is a dance of colours that reminds of The Darjeeling Limited (2007), with beautiful contrasts between cold and warm hues that will hypnotise you.

Still from Satu – Year of the Rabbit (Josh Trigg, 2024).

Funnily enough, the same photography that opens the window to a world of wonders is also used to accentuate the tragedies and the ugliness in people. A vibrant red for blood, a close-up on a sweaty man whose hygiene has seen better days… Everything feels heightened, imitating how the world looks like from the point of view of children.

Enchanting characters

Bo and Satu’s emotional development throughout their adventure is fascinating. They started the trip as innocent, hopeful children, and ended it a lot more adult, not in years, but in experience. Their vulnerability changed into a wiser demeanour.

Satu’s journey is particularly special since he begins as a child who is already a bit older than his years, but ends up way wiser and freed to feel and experience what will come next in his life. Even his clothes reflect his evolution. What started as a bright yellow, turns into a more discreet beige, showcasing the end of his childhood. Additionally, what he does with his previous clothes signifies his maturity and readiness to start the next phase of his life.

Still from Satu – Year of the Rabbit (Josh Trigg, 2024).

The same happens to his mother, whose hair had turned white after some years of abandoning Satu. She’s seen next to a black-haired woman with a son around Satu’s age. Hinting at the fact that her change of hair colour has been brought by despair and sadness more than ageing. It is small details like this that make the photography of this feature incredibly special. On top of embellishing the story, it adds some visual metaphors and hints as to the characters’ emotions.

All in all, Satu – Year of the Rabbit tells a beautiful story about growing up and dealing with loss and grief. Through wonderful images, you will be reminded of what being a kid felt like as well as the heartbreak of your first encounters with tragedy.

Advice to take from this movie:

  • The gravity of a tragedy can only be determined by how much you let it affect you.
  • It is important to learn from difficult situations instead of drowning in them.
  • Never leave a bike with a full tank unsupervised in the middle of nowhere.
Still from Satu – Year of the Rabbit (Josh Trigg, 2024).

What’s your take? Have you watched Satu- The Year of the Rabbit? Did you take away any lessons from it? Did you like the photography of the film? Don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, or leave a message in my contact page! For more reviews and cinema-related articles, check out the rest of my blog! 😀

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