Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sombat a no-show for Q&A

A couch was set up on stage at the front of the auditorium, but it stayed empty. Sombat Metanee didn't turn up for a scheduled Q&A session following Saturday night's screening of Tears of the Black Tiger at the Bangkok International Film Festival. No explanation was offered, but I am not about begrudge the 69?-year-old actor for not wanting to show up at 9 o'clock on a Saturday night to talk to a bunch of movie nerds. After making more than 600 films, the dude deserves a night off.

Anyway, seeing the film on the big screen for the second time in my life was an occasion enough. It reaffirmed the movie's place in my heart and on my list as one of my favorite movies of all time. When I tell people that, especially close friends who know I'm into movies, they take notice.

I love this movie, and from the opening scene, where Stella Malucci, in a 1950s-style pink dress, walks along the wooden walkway in the lotus pond, in the pouring rain, to a green gazebo, to the scenes of cowboys riding across the Saraburi plains, to the ending (yes - the sad, Buddhist "life-is-suffering" ending), I was captivated.

It's a movie about movies that aren't being made anymore - and they do things that aren't being done in Thai film anymore - people pointing guns at other people's heads, brains being blown out, villains smoking cigarettes without any pixellation and drinking hard liquor, and blood spurting in a glorious, gushing fountain that would do Sam Peckinpah proud.

Just one more time, I was grateful to see this film.

Oh, a bonus about seeing this festival screening was the print included a trailer for Bangkok Dangerous, and Wisit Sasanatieng's Wranger commercial. The commercial is made in Black Tiger style, set in a boxing match, with Chartchai Ngamsuan slamming his opponent with a well-placed kick. Patented Black Tiger blood is flying. The guy's mouthpiece goes flying through the air and lands on the forehead of some bald guy. Granny Gecko from Citizen Dog turns up chewing betelnut. The guy is down and out. Chartchai runs from the ring and into the locker room. The crowd looks to see where he went, puzzled. Chartchai reappears, shirtless, zipping up a pair of new, dark blue Wrangler jeans, "sold in Thailand since 1953", which is the period that this commercial evokes.

(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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