Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Fan Chan - DVD without subtitles

My enthusiasm for promoting and writing about Thai film took big dive today with the release of Fan Chan (My Girl) on DVD. One of the best films of 2003 and one that's sure to be a hit with audiences at film festivals, was released on DVD today with much fanfare and elaborate packaging but without English subtitles.

At a price of more than twice what other Thai films cost, the DVD includes special "making of" features, plus it comes in a handy little carrying case - a small replica of the patent-leather book bag that all Thai students carry.

But no English subtitles. Why? The filmmakers went to the expense of having the subtitles made for the theatrical release. Why not include them on this expensive DVD? This just plain sucks. I was looking forward to having the film in my home and sharing it with friends, and praising it on this blog. But no. Now I will trash it and forget about.

It's a really sweet movie about growing up in a small town 1980s Thailand, featuring a boy who is best friends with a girl. But the boy wants to ride his bike across the street and play with the other boys. It has humor and a story that have universal appeal. Unfortunately, unless you speak fluent Thai, you won't be able to understand the dialogue.

I'm really pissed off right now at the cheap, short-sighted bastards at the film company who think they can save money by not including the subtitles on the DVD.


  1. I just received my copy of "Fan Chan" today from YesAsia. There is a Region Free Taiwan release with English subtitles.

    It is in widescreen format, but not anamorphic, so it wouldn't be so good on widescreen TV. And there are no supplemental materials to speak of, just the movie, subtitles, and chapter select.

    Still, the DVD is VERY English-friendly. The subtitles were grammatical, and I can only think of one spelling mistake that really stood out. And I love the film. It has basically solidified my respect for Songyos Sugmakanan as a director and I hope I can follow his future movies as best as a non-Thai can (though in this particular case, he was one of six directors)

  2. Yes, thanks for that. Fan Chan was one of the first Thai-released DVDs that I can remember being rather rude about not having the English subtitles. It was eventually also released in Hong Kong, and that's the one I have. If you like Songyos' style, then get Dorm - it was released on R1 DVD by Tartan. And you'll be pleased to know his segment of Phobia 2 is among the many highlights.

  3. Already have Dorm, it was actually my second Thai film ever. Was shocked to see it had a Region 1 release. Thank you.


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