Love, Not Yet: Film on teen pregnancies

Posted on September 12, 2011 by

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Written by Chayanin Wipusanawan

Back in July, Love, Not Yet tried to make itself an online phenomenon. It did succeed, to some extent. Its Facebook fan page is titled ‘page samphan’, pronounced similarly to the Thai word for sexual intercourse, and the first two teasers tried very hard to become controversial, featuring the sex-related stuff and swear words.

On the other hand, this film is sponsored by the Women’s Health Advocacy Foundation, making me think that the film may actually just preach the old stuff of pre-marriage sex. (No, it’s actually not that bad.)

The main focus of this film is not actually sex per se, but the teen (unwanted) pregnancies that actually follow. The film consists of three short films, with three teen stories about facing their life-changing difficulties.

Before I go on further, I feel it’s my responsibility to talk about the film title to all the non-Thai readers out there. The Thai title of the film is Rak Chat Nak (I don’t know how to translate this!), and the English title, as you know, is Love, Not Yet. Sounds strange? Let me put is this way, yet is a Thai word for “fuck”, full stop.

The first short is titled After Samed [sic] or Pai Samet (lit. Go to Samet). The title is a reference to the legendary Thai saying pai samet set thuk rai (Go to Samet, all get nailed.) The story starts with a couple of two about-to-be college students, who go to Samet with a group of friends. The boy is from all-boy school, while the girl is a convent type from a strict family. After the trip, where she, of course, got nailed, she finds herself waiting for her next period. For some reason, they didn’t even use a condom. That’s where the trouble begins.

They both just faced the hard life of getting into college, and as they are worried about new life on campus, they are freaked as they are waiting for the pregnancy test. (According to the film, the test kit is most accurate when used two weeks after your missing period.)

In my opinion, the acting in this arc is somewhat unnatural. The main actress made her début with this film, while the actor is not an experienced one either, according to my Google research. (The actress is cute, though.) The metaphorical dialogue is not subtle enough for my taste. Still, it’s a lovely story overall.

I’m Mom, I’m Wife or Pen Mae Pen Mia is the second segment of Love, Not Yet. While After Samed features the city kids, I’m Mom, I’m Wife is set on a less urban village.

The secondary school dropouts hide in the girl’s parents’ house to avoid the social stigma, because the girl is pregnant. The girl was once a school star, who aimed to become famous, while the boy was a promising boxer. For them, the dreams are gone.

Even though they aren’t really living by themselves (yet), the film portrays the situations similar to making a living and raising a baby. In a bizarre fashion, they are left in charge at home, which is also a shop, with a kid of their neighbours (in Spider-man outfit). They have to clean up the shit (literally), and make food for the customers (who are from their neighbourhood), in very clumsy manners.

This segment is the ‘artsiest’ of all three. It has the comic elements from the supporting characters, and scenes in typical ‘indie’ style. (Love, Not Yet is, after all, an indie film.)

The English title of the last segment is Happy Birthday, but the fun lies in the Thai title, Tom Hang. Right, it is a play on the renowned actor’s name Tom Hank, which for Thai tongues is not really different. Tom and Hang are words in spoken Thai, shortened from the English words tomboy and hangover. So, what the title really means is a tomboy with a hangover.

The main character is a tomboy in the school basketball team, who is very popular among other girls. (This is very typical. There was at least one in my school year.) To celebrate the end of semester, she and her straight girl best friend go to a small party with the boy friends. After a heavy drinking game, she ends up sleeping with a boy, who is a friend of a friend. As we all learn in health class (or do we, in this region?), once is sometimes enough.

Again, this story portrays how she cope with the problem, especially mentally. Funnily, her mother is not as upset as happy, as her beloved daughter finally ‘becomes a girl’. Even though the acting is not remarkable, the plot and the storytelling is quite good.

One very good thing about Love, Not Yet is that it’s not explicitly preachy. It rather tries to take the audience into the problem that the characters face (although may not perfectly succeeds) , which is much better than any health lesson ads I’ve seen in this country. Overall, many elements of Love, Not Yet are quite average, and the film is not as provocative as it pretended to be. Still, I want to say that it’s much better than most average films, if that makes any sense.  I really enjoyed the film, and I think it’s still awesome.

(Sorry I didn’t include the names of directors, actors, and actresses.)

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Posted in: Culture, Thailand