Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tsunami shorts, Promise Me Not at Singapore fest

Left unsatisfied by the Bangkok International Film Festival? Then head down to the Singapore International Film Festival, April 13 to 29, where there's an impressive lineup of films from across Asia and around the world.

Not too many Thai films at this year's fest. There's the Tsunami Digital Short Films, which Apitchatpong Weerasethakul had a hand in.

And then there's Promise Me Not (Kor Koei Sanya) (review at ThaiCinema.org, synopsis at MovieSeer), a film I barely remember and didn't go see. Probably it's another case where the trailers and posters weren't advertising the film properly. It looked like just another dumb comedy to me.

It is a romantic comedy, but the story is about a star-crossed couple that commits suicide and swears to love each other in the next life, but are thwarted at every turn. Promise Me Not tanked at the box office last year and was such a colossal failure, the studio, Matching Motion Pictures, had to shut down for a time, according to an article in The Nation.

In line with the Thai trend of having multiple directors, Promise Me Not was helmed by the trio of Sakchai Deenan, Duloisit Niyomkul and Theeraton Siriphu.

Other films at the Singapore fest include:
  • The Burnt Theatre - I can't say enough about Rithy Panh's gut-wrenching picture of contemporary Cambodian society and arts. Go to hear the soundtrack, supplied by a pile-driver rig at a casino they were building next to the theater in Phnom Penh. Stay for the meal of fried bats.
  • Tori - Somehow, Tadanobu Asano found the time to make a movie, even if it is a short film (50 minutes). From the festival website: "It is a visualisation of dreams through live action and animation in five seamless episodes. With Bird as a starting point, it spreads its wings and flies on and on, beyond time and space. In Sword Of Mind, a samurai’s sword keeps cutting people down against his will. ATO is a visual poem depicting graffiti art and skateboarders. In Eternal Duo, a comic duo is captivated by a beautiful living thing. In the last episode, or, a bird puts on the costume of a beast, and dances in the air."
  • The Last Communist - Loosely based on the autobiography of Chin Peng, the legendary Malayan communist guerrilla leader.
  • The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai - Wacky satirical slapstick by award-winning pink film director, Mitsuru Meike. They quote Twitch: "Featuring enough raunch, humour and weirdness to please all."
  • Tribute to M Amin - "This tribute acknowledges a maverick talent and the three films - Cucu Datok Merah (1963), Dua Kali Lima (1966) and Aku Mahu Hidup (1970) reflect different stages of his career and his handling of different genres. In fact, Cucu Datok Merah is one of the finest anti-hero films ever seen in Malay cinema."
(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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