Sunday, March 26, 2006

Historical comedies

A couple of upcoming Thai comedies get into Thai history.

Nong Teng, Nak Leng Phukhao Thong (literally, Nong and Teng, the Golden Mount Gangsters), starring Pongsak Pongsuwan (or Teng Therdtheng) and Choosak Eamsuwan (Nong Cherm-Yim), delves into the very beginnings of Thai cinema, going all the way back to 1923, the year Henry MacRae came to Thailand to make a silent film called Nang Sao Suwan or Miss Suwanna of Siam.

It opens next week and advertisements for it have been everywhere. And now they are here.

Even at the anti- and pro-government rallies. When the TV news camera is on some talking head at a march, there's usually some film company stooge in the background holding up posters for Nong Teng. It's insane.

Nong and Theng were on a TV talkshow earlier in the week, hosted by Mum Jokmok. They had Sombat Metanee and another veteran Thai actor (his name escapes me, but he played the chief bad guy in Killer Tattoo), but instead of talking to these wisemen of Thailand's silver screen, the show degenerated into a lot of clowning around by Nong and Theng and Mum.

It's what the people want.

In the film, Theng is a likay (Thai traditional dance) performer who's facing eviction from his theater because his landlord wants to clear the way for the production of the first feature film to be made in Thailand (which is a mystery in and of itself, as Kong Rithdee recently reported in Real Time). So the boys deploy all kinds of hi-jinks to try and stop the film.

Nong Teng is the first feature film from Work Point, a TV production firm that is responsible for the TV talk show that Mum hosts (he has a cameo in the film and the trailer). But with the success of last year's Holy Man, starring Teng, and the fact that Teng and Nong (and Mum) are popular stars on TV, we could be looking at this year's hit comedy.

Meanwhile, veteran comedian Thep Po-ngam stars in Thai Thief, which I don't know too much about, other than it's due out April 12. It appears to have something or other to do with the Japanese occupation of Thailand, and early reports indicate its another one of those Thai comedies where they just keep throwing new characters and story developments at you every couple of minutes or so to keep you entertained, but it doesn't really go anywhere.

But, the trailers look good. Thep has already been making appearances to promote the film, and after Nong Theng has made its big splash, I anticipate the big push for Thai Thief (made by RS Film, while Nong Theng is being distributed by Sahamongkol).

Update: News story on Nong Theng from The Nation.

(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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