The Cannes Film Festival has unveiled its lineup and for the first time in a few years, there are no Thai films in the program, neither in competition nor the non-competitive sections.
But there will still be a Thai presence: Filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul has been chosen for the jury, which will be headed by Sean Penn and also include Natalie Portman, Italian director-screenwriter Sergio Castellitto, German actress Alexandra Maria Lara, Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron and French director Rachid Bouchareb.
Apichatpong has had two films featured at Cannes. In 2002, his Blissfully Yours took the Un Certain Regard prize, and in 2004 he was awarded a jury prize for Tropical Malady, which was in competition for the main Palm d'Or prize. His latest feature, Syndromes and a Century premiered at the 2006 Venice International Film Festival and traveled the festival and arthouse circuit to universal acclaim around the world before finally coming back to Thailand, where it was ordered to be censored by Thai cultural minders.
Thailand has had a regular presence at the festival since 2001, when Wisit Sasanatieng's Tears of the Black Tiger was the first Thai film to be programmed there. It screened in the Un Certain Regard competition. The Pang Brothers' Hong Kong co-production Re-Cycle screened in the Un Certain Regard in 2006, and Anocha Suwichakornpong's short film Graceland was in the Cinefondation program.
Last year, Pleasure Factory screened in Un Certain Regard, and Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy premiered in the sidebar Directors' Fortnight. By the way, Ploy has just been released in France.
This year, Southeast Asia will be represented in the competition by My Magic by Eric Khoo from Singapore and Serbis by Brillante Mendoza from the Philippines. Also of note from Asia in the competition is 24 City by China's Jia Zhangke. Out of competition, there is the Korean western, The Good, The Bad, The Weird by Kim Ji-Woon and Na Hong-Jin's The Chaser is among the midnight screenings.
(Via ThaiCinema.org, Hollywood Reporter)