Chocolate was the closing Midnight Madness film on Saturday at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.
Director Prachya Pinkaew was there (making a return visit), and while star Yanin "Jeeja" Vismistananda didn't make it to Toronto, she sent along a video message that was played before the film.
I've been keeping an eye out for substanstive, timely and well-written reviews of Chocolate from Toronto, and it brings me much joy to share from one of my favorite film blogs, House of Self-Indulgence, which I first encountered on Rotten Tomatoes. It has recently set up digs here on the Blogspot domain.
Here's a taste of Yum-Yum's review of Chocolate:
Pummeled faces and broken wrists are fine and dandy, but I couldn't have been the only one in the audience who was strangely drawn to the plethora of ladyboys (kathoey) that populated the world of Chocolate. Sure, like most normal people, I replayed my favourite kicks and punches in my head as I walked from the theatre (I might have even acted a few of them out), but the allure of the ladyboys was so pronounced, that I couldn't stop thinking about how captivating they were during the ride home. Whether they were playing a cackling henchwoman (an over-the-top Sirimongkol Iamthuam) or bumbling assassins, the ladyboys in this film had a profound affect on me. I also loved how none of the other characters seemed to make a big deal out of their ladyboy status. They were chicks with dicks who just happen to be employed by one Thailand's most ruthless gangsters. I'm telling you, it was a beautiful thing.
I try not to give too much thought to katoey characters in Thai movies. They just are. To question their existence is a slippery slope.
A video of the Q&A with Prachya at Chocolate's matinee screen is posted at Movie Moxie.
Chocolate will next be featured at Austin's Fantastic Fest, in Helsinki and at Bite the Mango as well as the Bangkok International Film Festival. A U.K. theatrical run in October and DVD release in November are also set.
(Info via Jason Gray; photo of Prachya by Movie Moxie)