The second Tiger Far East Film Festival will be held from May 29 to June 8 in London. Among the 13-film roster are two films with Thai connections that have been around for awhile, but I never got around to seeing -- the 2005 French Muay Thai drama Chok Dee and last year's romantic comedy Seven Days to Leave My Wife.
First up, let's look at Chok Dee (literally "good luck!") Directed by Xavier Durringer, the drama stars French Muay Thai champion Dida Diafat, with supporting roles by Florence Vanida Faivre (Siam Renaissance) and Sombat Metanee. Here's more from a review by Kirk Honeycutt in the Hollywood Reporter:
Dida is a punk in prison when he meets Jean (Bernard Giraudeau), a fellow con who teaches him Thai boxing. When Dida gets paroled, Jean urges him to go to Bangkok to train at a famous fight school. Refused admission because he is foreign, he lays siege to its entrance and eventually gets a job washing dishes and mopping toilets. When he finally receives training, he turns out to be a quick study and moves up quickly in the caliber of his fights.
At Jean's behest, Dida looks up Kim (Florence Vanida Faivre), Jean's long-lost daughter, who initially wants nothing to do with either him or her father's letters to her. Eventually, curiosity gets the better of Kim and she becomes involved in Dida's life.
I can't recall if this movie has actually played in Bangkok.
Next up,Seven Days to Leave My Wife, which was released in Thailand cinemas in March of last year. I never got around to seeing it, but Peter Nellhaus of Coffee Coffee and More Coffee saw it when he was living in Chiang Mai last year. Here's an excerpt from his review:
The film is a slight comic rehash of the American comedies from the Fifties, with nods in the direction of Billy Wilder's Seven Year Itch and Frank Tashlin's two films with Jayne Mansfield. The familiar elements have been transposed to contemporary Bangkok. The only aspect that would be new for Western viewers is the presentation of the ethnic Chinese background of some of the Thai characters. The opening scene could be retitled My Big Fat Chinese Wedding.
The film is about a rather non-descript salesman, Yong, who has somehow attracted his extremely attractive co-worker, Pim. How attractive is Pim? Her office wear includes form fitting red dresses cut to show off her legs from the thigh. One Tashlinesque moment shows two men holding small milk cartons, with the white liquid spurting out of their respective straws. There are also a couple of verbal references to Pim's breasts. Yong and Pim make mad, torrid love with each other yet at no time is there any attempt to explain why the tall, gorgeous woman is involved with Yong. The screenplay is so lazy that it demands we accept Pim's explanation to another character that she's in love with Yong. The film shows a guy who is both already married and socially inept, although there is the roundabout suggestion that he is terrific lover.
Suwajanee Chaimusik, who plays the wife, was a nominee for best actress at this year's Subhanahongsa Awards. Pim is played by Benjawan Artner, the statuesque beauty who played the love interest for Mum Jok Mok in Mum Deaw.
Produced by A.G. Entertainment, Seven Days to Leave My Wife is directed by Torpong Tunkamhang, whose most recent work, Memory is playing now. I just saw it, and a review is forthcoming. In short, I wish I'd taken the time to see Seven Days to Leave My Wife.