Zero Gravity, 2012, HD video, colour, sound, 28 min

Zero Gravity, 2012, HD video, colour, sound, 28 min


The films of Jakrawal Nilthamrong can be described as narrative and visual expeditions into borderlands. These are the borderlands of truth, fiction, and the imaginary, the borderlands between life and death, dream and wakefulness, and between the visible world and the invisible forces and spiritualities that shape and traverse the different registers of our experiences and realities. Zero Gravity is the second of Nilthamrong’s films that engages with “gravity” as an invisible force, which, like “karma,” presents us only with its results. His earlier work Man and Gravity showed a man’s struggle with gravity in his attempts to use a motorbike to pull a huge weight up a mountain. But in Zero Gravity, “gravity” refers to the aftermath of violence events. 

Zero Gravity is a work about the borderland between Thailand and Burma, and the borderland between fiction and truth, as well as past and present. Set in Ratchaburi, not far from Bangkok, the film follows a man on a journey into the history of the region. In 2000, Ratchaburi hospital was the site of a national incident, when the hospital was occupied and staff taken hostage by armed Karen guerrillas under the command of the “God’s Army” from neighboring Burma, the leadership of which was attributed to two twelve-year-old twins. The ten occupying guerrillas were eventually killed by Thai forces, some apparently executed on the spot after surrendering. This incident raised awareness of the political situation in Burma and the war fought by the Karen people in southern Burma, and was credited with sparking today’s insurgency in southern Thailand. 

Beginning with shots of the hospital which evoke memories of this event, the film takes us on a borderland journey, from road incidents and the Thai social services that compete for the bodies of the dead, to mysterious encounters in the jungle where the protagonist, whose memory we are traversing, encounters, among others, the Karen twins, the infamous generals of God’s Army. 

Jakrawal Nilthamrong, born 1977 in Thailand, lives and works in Bangkok