One thing about the schedule for the Hong Kong International Film Festival is that there are so many films, and there's no way to do a "country" search on the schedule, well, I knew I was bound to miss a film or two.
And I did. But thanks to ThaiCinema.org, it's been pointed out that a fifth Thai film will screen in Hong Kong: The newly released Handle Me With Care, making its world premiere outside Thailand. It joins Ploy,The Love of Siam, Opapatika and Wonderful Town.
The new romantic comedy by Kongdej Jaturanrasamee, Handle Me With Care is screening in the Global Vision section at Hong Kong. According to the festival website, there are seats available for both screenings.
Anyway, I'm glad I missed it in my earlier roundup of Thai films at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, because now I have a chance to put together a few more thoughts about Handle Me With Care. For one thing, I'd hoped the film would generate more of a reaction. But things have been pretty quiet.
According to Box Office Mojo, Handle Me With Care came in fourth at the box office, behind Jumper (no surprise here), Chocolate (the top-grossing Thai film so far this year) and the transsexual/lesbian body-switching comedy Valentine.
Chiang Mai Mail movie correspondent Mark Gernpy was underwhelmed by Handle Me With Care, saying:
Some nice scenery and photography, but I found it very slow and dull.
Gernpy is trying to build up some excitement for Handle Me With Care by starting a limerick contest, starting with the first line, “A three-armed man from Lampang ..."
Funny. I ain't playin', though. I do appreciate Nanoguy's comments on my review:
Even [though] it still has some 'feel-good' things ... I think this is the most 'pessimistic' film of GTH too far, including Body #19.
I really like the English title, Handle Me With Care, a lot. This is one of the brightest English titles for a Thai movie I've ever seen.
It's really touching me that everybody is 'fragile' and need[s] a 'handle with care' [label], but nowadays people don't care about this point any more ... [not only do people] handle it without care, [they] drop it repeatedly and intentionally.
Nanoguy also says Thai critic Film Sick loves Handle Me With Care, and says there is tons of symbolism about Thai political issues that won't be apparent to most viewers.
I also got to thinking about the film's social commentary, which used to be a common subtext in Thai films of the past, from the likes of M.C. Chatrichalerm Yukol, Euthana Mukdasanit or Cherd Songsri. There's not so much of that anymore, though Kongdej managed to work in some in Handle Me With Care. But not as much as he would have liked, he told The Nation recently:
Some people saw the points I was trying to make and others didn't. It's not important. The film is about a man with three arms, which should say something about how we regard other people in this day and age. But I've cut a lot of the footage because it was dragging the story off track," he says.
Kongdej admits that he'd love to make a movie with a truly social theme "rather like M.C. Chatrichalerm Yukol's old films". But he's well aware that the current market doesn't have room for features with heavy topics. "The best I can hope for is to use individual characters to observe society," he says.
Oh, just a stray point about Handle Me With Care: Fans of the funny duo of policemen who first turned up in Yuthlet Sippapak's Buppha Rahtree make a cameo appearance in Handle Me With Care. The pair are former Film Bangkok producer Adirek "Uncle" Wattaleela and a comedian whose name I can never catch.
And another thing: Not only does Kongdej write scripts and direct films, he sings, too! He showed off his vocal skills at the press preview of Handle Me With Care, singing the film's romantic theme as part of a threesome with stars Kiatkamol Latha and Supaksorn Chaimongkol.
- Review: Handle Me With Care
- Ready to embrace Handle Me With Care
- Kongdej Jaturanrasamee: Thailand's 'king of romance'
- Trailers for Handle Me With Care, Soul's Code
- More about Kod a.k.a. Handle Me With Care
- Official trailer at YouTube
- Official site