Thursday, October 2, 2008

6th World Film Festival of Bangkok to open with Moment in June; Bashir, Sita and Stones are highlights

With one festival just ended, there's another to look forward to.

The 6th World Film Festival of Bangkok has just confirmed its complete lineup, and it's impressive, featuring the gorgeous-looking Thai romantic drama A Moment in June as the opener, the Rolling Stones' concert film Shine a Light, as the closer, and a load of highlights that include the Southeast Asian premiere of the Israeli animated war drama, Waltz With Bashir.

In all, around 60 features plus dozens of short films will be shown in the 6th World Film Festival of Bangkok, which runs from October 24 to November 2 at Paragon Cineplex.

A romance that toggles between 1972 and 1999, A Moment June, is the debut feature from young Thai director O Nathapon. It is making its World Premiere in the New Currents Competition at the Pusan International Film Festival. The cast includes Shahkrit Yamnarm (recently seen in the remake of Bangkok Dangerous), Krissada Sukosol Clapp (13 Beloved, Bangkok Loco) and Sinitta Boonyasak (Last Life in the Universe).

The film was backed as the first project in the Produire au Sud Bangkok production fund, which was initiated at the 3rd World Film Festival of Bangkok in 2005. A Moment in June makes its Southeast Asian premiere at the World fest.

The Thailand premiere of Shine a Light, in which director Martin Scorsese captures the Rolling Stones on their Bigger Bang tour in New York in 2006, will be the closing film, screening for free on Saturday night, November 1, on the outdoor stage in Parc Paragon, for a celebratory "live" concert-like feel.

The festival is dominated by documentaries. These include A Jihad for Love, about homosexuality in the world of Islam. It was banned earlier this year from a screening at the Singapore International Film Festival.

Among the World Cinema section is the Israeli animated feature, Waltz With Bashir, which attracted a lot of buzz at Cannes this year and is Israel's pick for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Another interesting animated feature is Sita Sings the Blues, American animator Nina Paley's musical adaptation of the Ramayana. It was featured in Berlin and Tribeca this year, and World fest director Kriengsak "Victor" Silakong picked it up at Sundance.

Other sections include a focus on Latin America, and a Tribute to Hector Babenco, with three films, including a new print of Kiss of the Spider Woman.

There's a retrospective on British director Derek Jarman, with three films including his best known works, Caraviggio and Jubilee.

And there's a Tribute to Shyam Benegal, who will receive this year's Lotus Award for Lifetime Achievement. Five of the Indian director's works will be shown.

For short films, there are programs from Thailand and Germany, as well as an assortment of films from Malaysia, Singapore, Spain and the U.K.

Dropped from the festival this year is the Harvest of Talents competition, with festival organizers saying they didn't have a budget for it. The World fest is a private venture of Nation Multimedia Group, which has been undergoing financial restructuring.

For the complete lineup, check out Bangkok Cinema Scene.

(Cross-published at Bangkok Cinema Scene/The Nation Weblog)

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