The Fourth International Short Film Festival in Bangkok got under way last night with six Thai shorts, all making their Thailand premieres. The big draw was Graceland, the first Thai short selected for the Cannes Cinefondation program. Many of the films have been kicking around the European art and short-film circuits for a number of years, but last night was the first time they'd been seen in Thailand.
Part of the La Fete French culture fest, the short film program continues until Sunday, with Malaysian, Singaporean, shorts from elsewhere in Asia, as well as France. Thaicinema.org has the details.
It's impossible for me to critically comment on these films or to try and interpret what they really mean. But I'll give it a shot. Individually, I felt some of the films were lacking, but as a package they had a strong message about loneliness. And I think all short films are about loneliness, really. Even music videos and Warner Bros cartoons.
Here's what I saw last night:
- Graceland, by Anocha Suwichakornpong - An Elvis impersonator (Sarawut Martthong) from Bangkok is taken out into the countryside by a strange woman (Jelaralin Chanchoenglop) and abandoned. This was the first Thai short film selected for the Cinefondation program at the Cannes Film Festival. Produced for a master's thesis at Columbia University, some of the top talents in the Thai film business worked it, including top editor Lee Chatametikool. 2006, 17 minutes.
- I Move Faster Than I Am, by Sutthirat Supparinya - Railroad-themed, digital experimentation with images, placing the artist in the same pose, standing still, in various busy locations. 5.45 minutes.
- The Reflection from Lifeless Work, by Suwannee Surachescomson - A Chinese opera performer against a black background. 4 minutes.
- False Move by Soraya Nakasuwan - Animated short with two people dancing and become one. From Random-ize Film and Video Festival, 2002, London, 3 minutes.
- Fantasmagorie by Surachai Pattanakijpaibool - Science-fiction themed, with a naked man in various poses, though he always has a drapery to hide his privates, to avoid full frontal male nudity. Lille Film and Video Art Festival 2004, France, 14 minutes.
- Memories Haunt by Kamol Phaosavasdi - Buddhist-themed montage. Right after it was over, I couldn't tell you about any the images in it, but I liked this one the best, with its text of quotes on the facts of life by plain-spoken monks. Basically, life is suffering. It's a fact. Get over it and you'll be happier. Kamol is a well-established artist who teaches at Chulalongkorn University. 50th Venice Biennale 2003, 10 minutes.
- The Ceiling by Nonzee Nimibutr - A woman climbs up into the crawlspace above her ceiling and crawls over to the grating above her sexy neighborlady's apartment and spies on her, growing more obsessed with the neighbor's life. AFA Short Film Project, Pusan International Film Festival, 2005, 18 minutes.
(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)