The movie 72 Hours in Bangkok captures the story of a 2-year old Czech boy called Nicolas (Nico) in Thailand. Nico travels on holiday with his father from Prague and he is enthralled by his first flight. The story itself starts to unfold after the two protagonists arrive to Bangkok.
This film portrays Nico’s three-day tale of woe in a city of eight million once he gets separated from his father in the airport‘s arrival hall. Despite the panic which he experiences when he is unable to find his father, he manages to leave the airport. This makes his situation even worse because he finds himself on the streets of Bangkok, in an entirely alien environment. Due to his age and the language spoken there, no communication with local people is possible. He wanders the streets until night descends. Thanks to the locals‘ kindness (they offer him food, drink...) and an inexhaustible number of new strange impressions, he, for a while, manages to forget his dire predicament. However, this worsens when night arrives, which the terrified boy finally spends in a phone booth. The next day, Koi, a kindly local Thai, comes to his rescue. He discovers the phone number for the boy’s father but cannot reach him. He lets Nico spend the night at his home.
In the meantime, the desperate father tries to find his son, first at the airport and later on the streets of the city. When he fails, he contacts the local police but he is told that the search for a missing person can only be initiated 24 hours after a person is reported missing. Yet, when Koi finally reaches the father and arranges a place for them to meet to hand the child over, this does not happen because Nico – when Koi becomes momentarily distracted - disappears, once again, into the crowds of people. Nico spends one more night on the city streets. The father and Koi meet again, as Koi promises to help but their search is in vain. The desperate father meets a detective, who has ample experience of similar cases. The detective begins his search for the minor and all indications point to a gang of child kidnappers. Indeed, he finds Nico in their hideout, takes him away but when he returns to free other imprisoned children, he is killed by one of the members of the gang. Once again, Nico is all alone on the streets and his wretched father is at a loss what to do next...
The author’s directorial debut wants to draw attention to the currently very delicate issue of missing or kidnapped children in the world. Globalization is leading to ever greater numbers of people on the move for different reasons, like recreation, and the opportunities for organized criminal gangs to kidnap people, especially children, is growing.
The film has a deliberately “open ending” with the idea of enticing the viewer’s imagination (does the story have a happy ending, will the boy meet his father again?) It also, principally, stirs up consideration about whether the protection of one’s own children and others is always sufficient everywhere and whether the authorities in this or other countries, or international intergovernmental organizations, have sufficient resources to enable them to actively and effectively counteract transnational criminal syndicates (which deal with “white slavery” – supplying minors for various forms of exploitation, especially sexual, for trafficking in body organs, for illegal adoptions, etc.), and thus do everything possible to rescue every lost child everywhere in the world.
written by Nadezda Kanova
72 Hours in Bangkok film captures the story of a 2-year old boy named Nico in Thailand. He flies with his father to Bangkok from Prague airport. Nico is enthralled by his first flight. He is happy, noticing the crowds of people surrounding him. The plane provides wonderful entertainment for him. As he cant speak yet, he conveys his emotions through external gestures and facial expressions.
On Day One of his arrival in Bangkok, his father takes his eyes off him for a moment in the airport terminal and Nico drifts away. He happily discovers new things and people around him. Soon his excitement disappears when he no longer sees his father and has no idea how to find him again. His father desperately searches the airport terminal for him, asking passengers and airport staff alike, before deciding to contact the police. The police tell him, however, that they can do nothing, because an investigation cannot start until the boy has been missing for at least 24 hours. Nico wanders around the terminal in desperation, confused and crying, because he has lost his father and is now all alone. In this tragic situation (a two-year-old child in a foreign country), he suddenly spots a woman with a guitar, who evokes a flashback to when his father tried playing the guitar at home. It stirs up hope inside him that she will lead him to his father. He follows her, thinking she will lead to his father and accidentally leaves the airport, to the Skyline Subway, where the woman disappears into the crowd, and he finds himself alone on the subway in the middle of a huge city of 10 million inhabitants. He wanders around the streets until nightfall, still amazed by things, completely different from what he knew back home. In the meantime his father asks people about him and learns that a small child has been seen alone going in the direction of the Skyline Subway. He rushes there in the hope of finding his son. Nico wanders the streets terrified by the train that goes across the street, and the many new sights and sounds, forgetting for a moment about his isolation. He meets people, who talk to him and offer him food, and these moments also evoke the possibility of getting back home to his father. Meanwhile his father continues to look for him, shows people his son´s photograph, he distributes posters with Nico´s photograph and a contact telephone number on them and displays them on the streets. Rain comes with the night, again showering loneliness and unhappiness on Nico. Contrite and scared, he wanders the streets in the rainy night until he falls asleep in a phone booth.
On the Second Day Nico tries calling his father from a phone booth, when suddenly a local man named Koi notices him. He speaks to him, attempting to gain his trust. In the meantime, the required 24-hour period of waiting to report a missing person has passed. Nico´s father gives a police detective a photo of his son and further information. The police start their search for him. Koi, who has managed to gain the boys trust, takes him to his home and tries to find out where his parents are. He finds a telephone contact to the boys parents in his bag, which he immediately calls but cant get through.
On the Third Day Koi takes Nico with him to work. On the way he has a portrait made of the two of them by a street artist. Koi manages to call the father and arranges a place and time to meet at the restaurant where he works. During a moment of inattention, Nico disappears from Koi. He is again drawn to the bustle of the city, which doesnt seem to want to let him go. In the evening the lights of a bar catch his attention and a go-go dancer there reminds him of his mother. His father meets Koi that evening as arranged. Koi promises to help him look for his son, and uses the portrait he had made with Nico that morning. They go back to places where they hope Nico would be or where someone might have seen him. The gut feeling of the detective takes him to a gang of kidnappers and child traffickers. He gets into their hiding place and actually finds Nico there and manages to get him out. He is nevertheless appalled by the number of children imprisoned there and goes back with the intention of freeing the rest. A gang member, however, kills him in the process. Nico is again alone. He drifts unhappily among the streets at night until early morning rain falls softly.