Arnold Is a Model Student
Sorayos PRAPAPAN Thailand, Singapore, France, Netherlands, Philippines 85 mins PG13 (Some Mature Content) Singapore Premiere
Borrowing from Thailand’s Bad Student movement, this irreverent comedy is at once satire, a coming-of-age story, and manifesto for a frustrated generation.
Arnold becomes the school darling after emerging champion at a math Olympiad. His success attracts a shady tuition centre owner who invites him to join an exam cheating racket. Meanwhile, trouble brews on campus when a disciplinary incident propels a group of students into action.
Since 2020, Thailand’s students have been standing up to their schools, inspiring Sorayos to take on the institution and its banal, baffling workings. In Arnold, schools are a source of muted exasperation, other times the butt of a good joke or, as a student declares, “our first dictatorship”. With a storytelling style that marches to the beat of a country’s defiant changemakers, the comedic drama reveals a deep agitation and solidarity.
Sorayos PRAPAPAN is a Thai filmmaker, sound technician and foley artist. His short films include Death of the Soundman (2017), Dossier of the Dossier (2019) and New Abnormal (2021), all of which were screened at SGIFF, with the first winning him Best Director. His first feature, Arnold Is a Model Student premiered at Locarno.