Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thai films at the 6th World Film Festival of Bangkok

The 6th World Festival of Bangkok features a broad selection of Thai independent features, shorts and documentaries, with the highlight being A Moment in June, O Nathapon's romantic drama that received its initial boost in funding from the festival's Produire au Sud Bangkok workshop. A Moment in June is the opening film and is also scheduled for two more screenings during the festival, which runs from October 24 to November 2 at Paragon Cineplex.

Here's a look at the other Thai films in the festival.

Wings Of Blue Angels

For this 32-minute tale of two women leading very different lives who find love in very different places, director Tongpong Chantarangkul landed a star-studded cast. How's this for names: Sinitta Boonyasak (Last Life in the Universe, A Moment in June), Dolloros Dechapratumwan (Sick Nurses), Ananda Everingham (Queens of Langkasuka, Shutter and many, many other films). Here's more from the synopsis: "In their questions about love and all of its complexities, lives intertwine and experiences are shared among strangers in Bangkok – a city of millions where paths cross each day and the chance of finding a connection with someone happens in ways you least expect." Shot on 35mm, Wings of Blue Angels was also featured at this year's Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, the Heart of England International Film Festival and the Taipei Film Festival.

Lost and Found

Noth Thongsriphong directs this highly-polished 47-minute drama on 35mm about two sisters who have the same father but different mothers and how they came together through what they have lost. Again, some top-flight acting talent, including veteran actress Apasiri Nitibhon, with Khemupsorn Sirisukha, Kriangkrai Unhanadana and Attaporn Theemakorn. ML Pattamanadda Yukol is the film editor.

A Paralyzed Circus

For this 60-minute experimental digital feature, Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit expands on themes from his 40-minute short Penguins, which played in the 12th Thai Short Film & Video Festival's Digital Forum. The synopsis: "Penguins are in the park, an ostrich has disappeared, giraffes will become extinct, and humans are building something ..." More about the film is at Nawapol's blog.

Manus Chanyong One Night At Talaenggaeng Road

Adapted from a piece of classic Thai literature, actor Saranyoo Wonggrajang dramatically narrates the swashbuckling feats of derring-do by a palace guard and oarsman in the Ayutthaya period. This 38-minute experimental digital nature documentary was previously featured in the Digital Forum at the 12th Thai Short Film & Video Festival.

Me and Mine

Santi Taepanich (Crying Tigers, Bangkok Time) directs this digital documentary on the Thai arts scene in which he interviews filmmaker Pen-ek Ratanaruang, photographer Tada Varich, dancer-choreographer Pichet Klunchun, rock band Modern Dog and his older brother, comedian Udom "Nose" Taepanich. I'm told this world-premiere screening won't have English subtitles because Santi "didn't want to make a big deal out of it".

Chang program

Three short films are in this package. The Elephant (Chang Chang Chang) is an abstract animation inspired by the traditional story of the six blind men trying to describe an elephant. The Mahout is a documentary, interviewing three Karen mahouts who talk about the changes now facing them and the elephants in Thailand. The Wife (Mere Wife) is an animated adaptation of a traditional Karen folktale about the love triangle between an elephant, a mahout and his wife.

Short films by Joel Gershon

Bangkok-based American journalist and photographer Joel Gershon will screen four of his short documentaries. Wasteland goes into the trash heaps of the Nonthaburi Landfill, following the people who eke out a living there. After the Wave focuses on recovery efforts in Phang Nga after the 2004 tsunami. Everything Has Its Time - The Akha Hill Tribe In Modern Thailand is a look into the traditions and evolving existence of one of Thailand's hill tribes. And Crystal Power focuses on Crystal, a transvestite and brand manager for a French cosmetics company who became an activist for transgender rights after she was denied entry into a Siam Square hotel nightclub because she looked like a woman but her ID card said she was a "Mr." The links to the film titles all lead to the actual clips on the Current video site.

Disability Short Film Festival & Seminar

Seven shorts are featured in this two-hour program put together by Bioscope Magazine. Hidden Smile by Sopol Chimchinda is the director's own story of the problems he faces after accident left him unable to walk. Along the Way by Monsak Chaiveeradech is about a deaf table-tennis player. A Kid in the Field by Suthee Rainthavornjit is about a disabled boy who dreamt of being a football player and has made up his own rules so he can play in the same league with other kids. In the Music Box by Phanit Ngamniyom is about a man who gives his girlfriend a music box - knowing that she is deaf. The Meaning of Boy by Ketsuda Suankeaw is a documentary about child called Boy who is nearly blind. Nirvana by Sivadol Rathee is about a man who wants to ordain as a Buddhist monk, but his biggest obstacle is his blindness. And The Goal by Seree Lachonabot is about handicapped boy who never quits no matter how hard his life is.

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