The Pusan International Film Festival has the mother of all lineups, with a whopping 10 Thai films in its program. I saw it first at Kaiju Shakedown, but they give the scoop to ThaiCinema.org, which details what to watch for.
There's the mainstream choices: Jira Maligool's underappreciated bit of nostalgia, The Tin Mine, Mum Jok Mok's dramatic turn in the romance, Midnight My Love and the indie relationship film, My Space.
But the one to really watch for will be Innocence, an indie film directed by former Miss Thailand Ariya Chumsai and her co-director Nisa Kongsri. Set at a boarding school in Northern Thailand, the story is about hilltribe children who "are taken by the school's principal to see the water's end as a way to fulfil their dreams", ThaiCinema says. Does this mean the ocean? I know if I were a hilltribe kid in Northern Thailand, I'd want to see the ocean. Anyway, bring it on. When's it show locally?
There's also 3 Friends by Aditya Assarat, ML Mingmongkol Sonakul and Phumin Chinaradee. Another indie film, it's also showing at Toronto, as is Citizen Dog.
Are you counting? That's six. Rounding out the Big 10 are four films by late auteur Ratana Pestonj: Sugar Is Not Sweet (1965), Black Silk (1961), Country Hotel (1957) and Dark Heaven (1958) will be shown.
The artistry and influence of Ratana can't be understated, which makes his untimely death in 1970 even more tragic. Read his story at ThaiCinema.org and just try to hold back the tears. I can barely type right now just thinking about it. I've missed out on chances to see these films and can't afford the trip to Pusan, so I really hope that someday I'll have the opportunity to see for myself just what it was Rattana was doing that made him special.
(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)