Patong Girl

Interview with Susanna Salonen at the Austin Film Festival, 2014

How did you come up with the story?
Resort towns are quite interesting. It's really where cultures meet one another. On the one hand you have the local population. And then there are the vacationers from around the world, who want to experience something, be spoiled, live out their dreams, find adventure…When their high expectations finally meet reality, it doesn't always end well.

The relationship between the two leads is quite unusual.
If you Google the term Patong Girl, you'll find endless amateur videos and forum discussions and all sorts of things about sexy sexy bar girls all over Thailand. But out of 35 million Thai women, roughly 35 million aren't actually bar girls.

What is the relationship between the two families?
I wanted to have both the Thai family and the German family be middle-class. In Thailand, there's a large middle class right now, and it's growing. The Thai New Wave cinema is made by and for that middle class. And despite all the cultural differences, the middle class is surprisingly similar all around the world.