Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy

“I wanna go left. Is that really my choice? Or am I being controlled by some force? And if I go right? Am I overcoming the force? Or is it controlling me all the same?”

-Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy. (2013)

Sometime In September of 2017, I was browsing tumblr, and came across two corresponding stills from a film: both of the same shot, but with continuing dialogue. The image was of two girls, with their backs to the camera, facing a railroad in an open field. The speaker (one of the girls, I’d assumed) was talking to the other girl about free will and choices, but in a simple way, a way that didn’t imply all the pretension that comes with philosophy in movies. I was immediately fascinated with the stills, and I checked the tags of the post to learn that they were from a movie entitled Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy. It was the first I’d ever heard of this movie, and as I researched I learned that it released in 2013 in Thailand, and that the entire movie was in Thai. I also learned that there was a rip of it on YouTube, but the audio was in Thai, and there were no English subtitles.

“Dreaming with your eyes open is so different.”

-Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy. (2013)

For a while, I just let the wanting sit in my mind, frustrating and useless. And yet so, undeniably present. I couldn’t watch this movie. I literally couldn’t understand it. But then one day, I learned how to render subtitle files into video, and I ripped an HD copy of the movie along with a subtitle file I found on the internet. The next day, I watched most of the movie during my study hall. While I watched, this weird racist guy I knew kept on imitating their voices, but I tuned him out, because this movie fascinated me. It was based on the twitter account of a Thai teenage girl, and the storyline followed two sisters attending the same Thai college, feeling intense emotions but expressing them in simple, unemotional ways. It was absolutely surreal, and I laughed out loud at its absurdity when the girls held knives to a cake vendor and stole his cake. And yet, I loved it. I really, really, really loved it.

“Nothing’s certain. Things happen quickly and without reason.”

-Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy. (2013)

Like most things I get very into, I tried to learn about Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy on the internet, but my searches yielded just about no results. I learned some basic information: The film was independently filmed and released, the twitter account it was based off of was
@marylony, and it had a remarkably long soundtrack. But after that, the trail ran cold, and for the first time in a long time, my love for something was not participatory, not some drop in an ocean of obsession. No, I was alone, and nobody cared about, or had heard of this film. At least, definitely nowhere outside of Thailand’s indie movie scene. And although that disturbed me at first, over time I grew to love it. It was my secret. My hidden gem. But now it’s time for me to share it, and I’m publishing this essay in hopes that someone reads it and decides to watch it themselves. That would make me happy, happy.

Read this essay and more in the next issue of

Criss Cross!

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