“If you’re gonna go [. . .] it needs to be now.”
Those are words that have been said countless times by the young, privileged, and recently travelled. And so they’re repeated to Erik [Johan Matton, who also wrote the screenplay] and Joanna [Linnea Larsdotter] over dinner on a New York City balcony. “Just go” is the advice given, and moments later we cut to the couple beneath the welcoming Thai sun.
The expectations for a story like this one are the same as they would be for an actual getaway to the Southeast Asian country: sexy, inspiring, exhilarating. Director Bank Tanjaintrong’s first feature length film, Till We Meet Again delivers on all of these fronts, but also tempers those feelings with the everyday matters of need and loneliness. Even before Erik and Joanna are separated, with the latter leaving earlier than planned to reconnect with David [Emrhys Cooper], an old friend, those issues lie just beneath the surface.
Likely attributed to the director having grown up there, Thailand is depicted with a comfortable familiarity that lacks the lurid exoticism many Hollywood movies have employed. With that in mind it serves primarily as a backdrop to the relationships playing out onscreen, which are further complicated by the introduction of Miranda [Astrea Campbell-Cobb]. While the setting’s natural and man-made beauty are never obscured there’s a tight focus on the core cast, and one that offers very little screen time for local talent.
Working in conjunction with Tangjaitrong’s intimate shots is an original score by composer Dexter Britain that fills the otherwise silent moments without overpowering them. As for the stars, although they may in fact spend just as much time separate as together during the film’s runtime, both Matton and Linsdotter exhibit a shared understated intensity that allow the opening minutes to be dialogue-free while still capturing the audience’s attention. Their respective performances also what cause the independently filmed and released Till We Meet Again to stand apart from larger productions; it’s a film that’s more about people than the place they’re in, more about emotions than events.
Till We Meet Again is not a thinly veiled travel advertisement, nor is it a celebration of youthful once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If anything, this film serves as a sobering reminder that you take it with you. Whether it’s doubt or anxiety or, equally unnoticed, deep-seated commitment, they stick around during the time apart and tend to reappear during the film’s titular moments.
Till We Meet Again has received a number of awards, including the 2015 Long Beach International Film Festival Award and Best PIcture at the 2015 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards. The film’s limited release in theatres began yesterday, November 22nd, and it will be available on VOD [including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and Google Play] starting November 25th.
Check back in soon for interviews with director Bank Tangjaitrong and stars Johan Matton and Emrhys Cooper!