Aroonpheng’s feature debut as a director (he was a cinematographer for both Vanishing Point and The Island Funeral) is a poetic rendition of one of the most pressing issues in global politics today: the plight of the Rohingya refugees. Awarded the Orrizonti Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2018, the film has since been prominently featured on the festival circuit, winning many awards including Best Film at Mumbai Film Festival and Best Director at Thessaloniki Film Festival. The Harvard Film Archive is pleased to screen Manta Ray right after its US premiere at New Directors, New Films.
Manta Ray follows the friendship between a Thai fisherman and a mute migrant worker that he discovers injured and nurtures back to health. When the fisherman refuses to take an order from his boss—a directive that may relate to the (dis)appearances of the refugees in town—he himself is made to disappear.