Friday, February 13, 2009

Another moment for A Moment in June

After an appearance on the festival circuit last year, the indie romantic drama A Moment in June has opened in wide release in Thai cinemas -- the obligatory Valentine's Day love story -- after being picked up for distribution by Sahamongkol Film International. Its Thai title is Na Khanarak (ณ ขณะรัก, or literally, "in the meantime, love"), but I think it is still listed as A Moment in June at the multiplexes.

It's a different version than the one that premiered in the New Currents competition at the Pusan International Film Festival, opened the World Film Festival of Bangkok and was part of the package of Thai films at the International Film Festival of India last year.

Director "O" Nathapon Wongtreenatrkoon has trimmed the movie by 6 minutes and 30 seconds and added a couple of new songs.

Daily Xpress has a story in which English-schooled O explains “I’ll do anything I can to make it work as a Thai film.” He also addresses the criticisms that the movie is slavish to Wong Kar-wai, and that his script -- written in English and translated into Thai -- has dialogue that seems unnatural.

“[Wong Kar-wai] has greatly influenced my thinking, as has my other favourite filmmaker, David Lean, so yes, his movies have inspired my film. But that doesn’t mean I have copied him. On the contrary, some scenes are meant as a tribute to his work.


Nathapon wrote the script in English and then let his actors translate their lines into Thai by themselves, resulting in some unnatural conversations, which local filmgoers may find a little offputting.

But the director isn’t worried, pointing out that the responses of local and foreign audiences are totally opposed, even toward the same character.

“It’s interesting to hear both sides. I’m surprised that my film can make people think so differently,” he says.

As a theatre and film graduate, O rather focuses on the characters’ ability to put across their feelings through emotions rather than lines.

“I’d rather concentrate on the emotional communication rather than dialogue, which sometimes has little meaning to the story. If I wanted to communicate just through dialogue, I’d rather make a radio drama than movie.”

A Moment in June stars Shahkrit Yamnarm, Krissada Sukosol, Sinitta Boonyasak, Deuntem Salitul, Suchao Pongvilai, Napaskorn Mit-Aim and Hiro Sano. Set in 1999, it focuses on a theater director (Shahkrit) who's staging play about a love triangle that's set in 1972 in Bangkok. He's going through a breakup with his boyfriend (Napaskorn). At the same time, an older couple (Suchao and Deuntem) is reunited after many years apart. Reality and the stage play, and the time between the decades, artfully fold into each other. The period setting and costuming is enhanced by an old song, "Tha Charom" by Charoen Nathanakorn, which is a refrain.

There's a trailer at YouTube, and it's embedded below.

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