Thailand, 2009, 94 minutes
Fri, Apr 23 / 9:00 / Kabuki / NUMP23K
Sat, Apr 24 / 4:30 / Kabuki / NYMP24K
Wed, Apr 28 / 4:45 / Kabuki / NYMP28K
The spirits of the forest have their own codes and their own desires, but they remain not so far from our own in this entrancingly eerie and sultry love story-as-nature retreat from esteemed Thai “new wave” filmmaker Pen-ek Ratanaruang (Last Life in the Universe, SFIFF 2004). Nop and May’s marriage has cooled, as Nop has pursued his work as a photographer and May an ongoing affair with her boss, Korn. When the couple head into the forest on a working holiday, Nop finds himself strangely drawn to a large and unusual tree and soon afterward disappears. The police are sympathetic to May’s situation—there seems no end to the bodies that turn up out here—but they prove no help in locating Nop, who in fact mysteriously materializes back home on the couch a few days later. A subtle change has come over him, and he and May rekindle their love for one another. Korn, meanwhile, has become completely obsessed with May. When Nop disappears once more, May heads into the forest to do battle for him, Korn not far behind her. Mesmerizing and mood-altering from its remarkable opening tracking shot—in which cinematographer Charnkit Chamnivikaipong’s floating camera hovers like an ethereal, inhuman eye, absorbing in one long drifting sweep a violent assault in the forest and its mysterious aftermath—Nymph, with further help from a haunted ambient score and intoxicatingly understated performances, enacts the enchantment it recounts. Its sensual depiction of nature, not least the hapless human variety, fully returns the embrace.