Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tsunami short in Vancouver

Vancouver's getting ready for its International Film Festival, September 29 to October 14, and has a great lineup of Thai films, including Citizen Dog, the 2005 documentary, Crying Tigers, and two shorts by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (including his tsunami short!). Kaiju Shakedown has more on the line-up, which includes lots Asian films.

Here's a look at the Thai films:
  • Citizen Dog - The long-awaited second feature from Wisit Sasanatieng, director of Dragons & Tigers Award-winner Tears of the Black Tiger (Fah Talai Jone). Village boy comes to Bangkok and gets a crush on a young career woman, but she becomes an eco-warrior determined to rid the world of plastic. Thanks to its amazing visuals and CGI effects, some see this as a Thai answer to Amélie--but it’s darker, funnier and altogether edgier than Jeunet’s film.
  • Crying Tigers - Drought-plagued Isaan is Thailand’s poorest province; many born there migrate to other parts of the country. Santi Taepanich’s vibrant documentary looks at the successes and failures of three men and one woman from Isaan who try to make it in Bangkok - from a pop star whose best days are past to a guy who dresses up as a fish to promote a seafood restaurant. A remarkably entertaining movie which broke new ground in Thai cinema.
  • Ghost of Asia - Made in support by Apichatpong Weerasethakul in support of Thailand’s tsunami relief appeal, Sakda (the country boy/tiger in Tropical Malady) has to perform all the actions called out by a group of three kids. He may or may not be a ghost. I think this is the first time this has been screened anywhere, though it's supposed to be at the 3rd World Film Festival of Bangkok.
  • M.A.I.D. - Yongyoot Thongkongtoon follows up his global hit Iron Ladies with another riotous comedy (also called Jaew): when various highly trained secret agents are eliminated while trying to expose corruption in high places, four naive but feisty country girls are recruited to pose as maids and flush out the dirty secrets. If you have qualms about laughing at stereotypes, forget them here.
  • Worldly Desires - Apichatpong focuses on his own predilection for and memories of ­ filming in the Thai rainforest jungle. By day, a young couple search the jungle for a sacred tree; by night, a film crew headed by woman director Pimpaka Towira shoots two incongruous song-and-dance routines. Apichatpong describes the film as "a small simulation of manners." He effortlessly puts the mystery back into camp. This is part of a trio of Digital Short Films that also comprise films by Shinya Tsukamoto from Japan (I'm still having nightmares about that one) and Il-gon Song from Korea.
(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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