Jan is a boy growing up in 1930s Siam in a wealthy, dysfunctional family where sex has a huge impact on everyone's lives. Jan Dara is viewed by his father, Khun Luang, as cursed, since his mother died giving birth to him. The abusive Luang is a womanizer who has sex with many women in front of the portrait of his late wife.
The younger sister of Jan's mother, Aunt Waad, is brought in to care for Jan. Luang has sexual relations with her, which causes young Jan to be jealous, since he has developed feelings for Waad. Waad and Luang have a daughter, Kaew, who is the apple of Luang's eye. From the beginning, he spoils her and teaches her to hate the "bastard Jan". Waad, in return, treats Jan like her own son and despises the bratty Kaew.
Later, another of Khun Luang's women, the sophisticated nymphomaniac Boonlueang, moves into a guesthouse on the estate, and she teaches Jan his first lessons in the ways of love.
Jan is then framed for the rape of Kaew, who was having relations with the son of one of the family's maids. But it is Jan who ends up punished for Kaew's transgressions. Later, it emerges that Kaew is pregnant, with the seed of her own father. To smooth over the damage to the family's reputation, Jan is asked to return to the family estate and is forced into an arranged marriage with his half-sister Kaew. He does so, as long as he is promised the deed to the estate, which he views as a form of vindication against his father for the abuse he endured from him during his childhood.
Kaew gives birth to Luang's child and curses it after it has emerged from her womb. The child displays classic dysmorphic features found in genetic mutations such as trisomy 21, commonly known as Down's syndrome.
Kaew, meanwhile, enters into a lesbian relationship with Boonlueang. When Jan discovers this, he demands that Kaew give him his own child and forces himself upon her repeatedly. Kaew becomes pregnant with Jan's child but she refuses to have the baby she is carrying, and with Boonlueang's assistance, performs a bloody, self-administered abortion.
Jan subsequently finds himself repeating the libidinous patterns of his father, going as far as to have sex with a maid in his father's sitting room, in front of the portrait of his mother. Jan wonders why he can't escape the cycle of sexual abuse started by his father. Then it is revealed that Jan is the product of a gang rape of his mother.Suwinit Panjamawat as teenage Jan DaraSantisuk Promsiri as Khun Luang, Jan Dara's fatherChristy Chung as BoonlueangEakarat Sarsukh as adult Jan DaraWipawee Charoenpura as Aunt WaadPatharawarin Timkul as Kaew2001 Thailand National Film Association Awards: Best art direction (for Ek Iemchuen); best cinematography (for Nattawut Kittikhun). Also nominated for best screenplay and best sound.
In addition to its premiere at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival, Jan Dara has also screened at the Vancouver International Film Festival, London Film Festival, Pusan International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam and the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival.
The DVD, with English subtitles, has been issued by Kino International (Region 1) and in Thailand by APS (Region 3).