Okay Baytong (2004)

Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - Thailand  |  
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When Tum (Poowarit Poompuang), a Buddhist monk who lives a simple, devout life of privation, learns that his sister, Jane, has been killed in a terrorist bombing, he travels to the city and is forced to re-engage with the world. Jane has left behind a successful business: a popular hair salon and, more importantly, Maria (Saranya Kruangsai), her young daughter, a child of divorce who hasn't seen her father since she was a baby. Lynn (Jeeranan Manoojam), a travel agent and Jane's most responsible friend, has been watching after Maria. Tum quickly realizes that his monastic lifestyle will hinder him from caring for his young niece (and his sister's affairs) the way he should, so temporarily abandons monkhood. While party girl Fern comically tries to introduce Tum to urban nightlife and the latest fashions, Lynn works to help him in his efforts to gain legal custody of Maria and teaches him how to ride a bike. Tum finds himself developing an unexpected emotional attachment to both Lynn and Maria and is dismayed to learn that Lynn has a Muslim boyfriend and is converting to Islam. This is especially difficult for Tum to accept, because he assumes that Muslim terrorists were responsible for the bombing that killed his sister. Baytong was written and directed by Nonzee Nimibutr, best known for his horror film Nang Nak and for producing such well-regarded Thai films as Bangkok Dangerous and Mon-Rak Transistor. Baytong was shown at the 2004 edition of Subway Cinema's New York Asian Film Festival.