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I Carried You Home

Padang Besar

Two semi-estranged sisters have to rebuild their relationship as they prepare to bury their mother in Tongpong Chantarangkul’s exceptional debut.

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  • Director Tongpong Chantarangkul
  • Producer Thacksakorn Pradubpongsa
  • Screenwriter Pramett Chankrasae, Piyakara Bootprasert, Tongpong Chantarangkul
  • With Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, Akumsiri Suwannasak, Torpong Kul-on
  • Thailand 2011
  • 113 mins
  • Production company Triton Company Ltd

A middle-aged divorcée has died in hospital. She collapsed after singing karaoke on a shopping-mall stage in Bangkok and never recovered. Her two daughters have to accompany her body on the long drive to Padung Besa, her birthplace. Pann is still in high school and feels guilty about being a less-than-model pupil; her elder sister Pinn ran away from an arranged marriage and settled in Singapore. The two young women have never really got along, but the long drive – accompanied only by their cheerfully unreliable chauffeur Tor – forces them into a kind of rapprochement; by the time they reach their destination and go through the Buddhist funeral, a casual revelation is on the agenda. First-time director Tongpong, a London Film School graduate, knows the secret links between motion and emotion. His unorthodox road movie gets everything right: the nuanced performances, the visuals, the audio. An exceptional debut.
Tony Rayns

Director statement

The great loss of the mother of my dear friend has made me wonder about our relationship to our families in modern times. Why people are so disconnected from each other, particularly with our families; the more we grow up, the more distanced we become; and how easy it becomes to push ourselves away from them? Is this simply the way of the world, or is it a phenomenon specific to our day and age? And why is it that we can care more about other people and take for granted those who are closest to us? I understand that life may not be perfect, but how could we have managed to take things this far? Thus, I wanted to make a film that shows how and why we have become disconnected in this materialistic and modernised world; when we are so-called ‘better off’ than we have ever been, yet dealing with such great depths of loneliness at the same time. The motivation to tell this story is inspired by true experience, and I wanted to work specifically within a Thai Buddhist cultural backdrop, to which I feel a close understanding. The film shows the journey of how a small, contemporary family has become disconnected with one another. Across the years they have managed to communicate with each other less and less, and it is not until they lose their mother that they are forced to be together. As the story unravels they have to deal with and react to each other, and eventually learn how to communicate again. Do they want to, and are they able to return to a time when they were very close? What will happen if and when they realise that there is truly no common ground? The film tells the story in non-chronological order so as to give context to the way the characters react and behave in certain moments, since I believe that our feeling and reactions are often built upon events and experiences from our past. In the end, perhaps people will reflect on themselves and consider the existing relationships they have with their family, if one exists at all.
Tongpong Chantarangkul

Director biography

Born in Bangkok in 1976, he received his BA in Motion Picture and Video from Rangsit University in 2001, and continued writing and directing short films and documentaries before joining the post-production company Soho Asia. There he worked as an assistant colourist and then as a telecine colourist for more than two years until he attended the London Film School, graduating with an MA in Filmmaking in 2007. His degree film, Wings of Blue Angels, won the Trailblazing Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2008. That same year he started to write I Carried You Home, which finally had its world premiere at this year’s Busan International Film Festival.

Filmography

2001 Bangkokian [s]
2006 Another Beginning [s]
2007 Wings of Blue Angels [s]
2011 Padang Besar (I Carried You Home)

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