Saturday, April 5, 2008

Celebrating Thai Film Day

I checked out Thai Film Day at CentralWorld yesterday, watching the 10 short films in the Thai People Love the King short film contest and briefly browsing at the booths set up by the industry. All the big studios had a presence -- Sahamongkol, Five Star, GMM Tai Hub, Mono Film, Phranakorn and a few others.

At the time I was there, the most activity seemed to be happening at the Sahamongkok Film booth, which featured an appearance by costumed characters from Nak -- Thong the dog, Keaw the headless ghost, Udd, the shape-shifting tall ghost and Mae Nak herself.

I watched Nak late Thursday and am still mulling over my review. It's coming soon. In short, Nak is very colorful, is sometimes entertaining and makes some interesting interpretations and observations about Thai society.

Mono Film had a game set up to promote its upcoming film, I.C.U.: Ghost College of Fine Arts, which is directed by Theeratorn Siriphunvaraporn. I recognized Theeratorn by his distinctive thick-rimmed glasses and trademark Tin-Tin hair fin, and I mentioned to him that I am a big fan of The Tiger Blade, which he directed, and asked how the sequel, Tiger Blade 2 is coming along. He smiled and said "coming soon!" And that was it.

Hanging around film crew working around some type of dolly camera rig, I bumped into director Chalerm Wongpim, so I mentioned to him that I am a big fan of Dynamite Warrior, and asked him what he's working on next. He's doing an action comedy, due to start shooting in three months for release sometime next year. And that's it.

The 90-minute or so package of 10 short films for Thai People Love the King was all in Thai with no subtitles, but I enjoyed watching them anyway. I liked the first one, just because it was mercifully lacking in dialogue. It was about an old woman living in rural Thailand who adhere to the old ways of living in a wooden stilt house and gathering food.

Possibly my favorite was one about a dysfunctional couple -- the husband just sits at his desk, drinking whiskey and flipping through the channels on his blaring TV. The wife, who walks with a limp, annoys the husband by lighting up about a dozen incense sticks and sitting them on the edge of the table, choking him with thick smoke while he's eating breakfast and she's praying to her ancestors. The wife leaves the next morning and locks the husband in. They both end up meeting at the same time at the ferry pier, where they are crossing the river to visit HM the King at Siriraj Hospital, where he was staying for a time late last year. All the shorts made specific reference to the King, by using his photos, yellow shirts and other items. Two were set on the Srinakarin Dam, seen as one of the largest, most tangible of the King's works.

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