The World Comedy Film Festival starts tonight, June 10, at Paragon Cineplex, with the gala opening film, The Wedding Game, directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham and starring Singaporean celebrity couple Fann Wong and Christopher Lee.
The program for the festival has been slowly emerging, and now the festival website has about everything listed, including a master schedule of screenings.
Among the special programs is A Chronology of Siamese Humor, which is a mix of classic films from the 1960s, the '80s and '90s, as well as newer comedies, and even short films. From recent years, among the highlights are 2005's Yam Yasothon and 2001's Killer Tattoo. There's also some rare short films that will be worth seeing.
Also, there will be another chance to catch the art of live dubbing on two 1960s films, Sao Dao Tiam (Satellite Girl), starring Dokdin Kanyamarn, and Samgler Jer Long Hon (Three Friends Meet Invisible Agent), starring Mitr Chaibancha and Petchara Chaowarat.
Here's the lineup:
- Time Machine 1 (Go Jaa Pa-Na-Go, โก๊ะจ๋าป่านะโก๊ะ) -- Jedi Suppakan and Pipat Payakka direct this 1991 jungle adventure from Five Star Production and Bhandit Rittakol, involving a group of college students on summer break. Santisuk Promsiri,Warut Woratham and Jakkrit Ammarat star. Screens at 5.30pm on Thursday, June 11 at Paragon Cineplex.
- Hello Yasothon (Yam Yasothon, แหยมยโสธร) -- Petchthai "Mum Jokmok" Wongkamlao directs and stars in this 2005 musical comedy. Set in 1967 and paying homage to the colorful Thai musical romantic comedies of that era, Mum is Yam, an Isaan farmer who spurns the advances of Joei (a brassy Janet Kiew), the flirtatious maid of Soi, the girlfriend of his cousin Tong. When the maid and maiden are packed off to Bangkok by a scheming, social-climbing aunt, Yam and Tong pine for their absent sweethearts, even going as far as making the trip to Bangkok to search for them. I don't "get" many Thai comedies, but this is one that I thoroughly enjoyed and it remains among my all-time favorites. Screens at 2.30pm on Friday, June 12, at SFW CentralWorld.
- Killer Tattoo (Meu Peun Lok/Pra/Jan, มือปืน โลก/พระ/จัน) -- Yuthlert Sippapak's 2001 debut is an action comedy that stars Somchai Kemglad as Kit Silencer, an assassin who's out for revenge against the killer of his father. His only clue is a mysterious tattoo. Meanwhile, four hilariously bumbling hitmen (comedians Thep Po-ngam, Sornsutha Klunmalee, Petchtai Wongkamlao and Pongsak Pongsuwan) are assigned a target that will bring them into a clash with Kit Silencer. Screens at 3pm on Friday, June 12, at Paragon Cineplex.
- Satellite Girl (Sao Dao Tiam, สาวดาวเทียม) -- From 1960, this madcap comedy is directed by Sor Kra Prayoon and stars Amara Assawanon, Somkuan Krajangsart and Dokdin Kanyaman. It's about a young man who disguises himself as a woman in an attempt to woo a millionaire’s daughter. With live dubbing at 5pm on Saturday, June 13, at Paragon Cineplex.
- James Band 007 (เจมส์แบน 007) -- Instead of an Aston Martin, this 007 drives a samlor. Chai Nimitrchotinai directs and legendary comedian Lor Tok plays the mastermind villain. Screens at 6.15pm on Saturday, June 13 at SFW CentralWorld.
- The Spy Next Door (Aep Kon Kang Baan, แอบ คนข้างบ้าน) -- From 2003, this is comedian Pongsak Pongsuwan's first starring feature, following up his supporting role as Elvis M-16 in Killer Tattoo. He plays Odd, a burglar who's tasked by a cross-dressing policeman to become a confidential informant. Viroj Thongsiew directs. Screens at 11am on Sunday, June 14, Paragon Cineplex.
- Three Friends Meet the Invisible Agent (Samgler Jer Long Hon, สามเกลอเจอล่องหน) -- Directed by Chaluai Srirattana and Sor Assanajinda and starring the legendary screen couple of Mitr Chaibancha and Petchara Chaowarat, this 1966 action comedy is based on the popular novel series Pol, Nikorn, Kim-nguan or Samgler (Three Friends) by Por Intharapalit. In this episode, they have to intercept an invisible secret agent sent who turns out to be a woman, which triggers fierce jealousy from the three guys’ wives. With live dubbing at 1pm on Sunday, June 14 at SFW CentralWorld.
- Holy Man 2 (Luang Pee Teng 2หลวงพี่เท่ง 2 -- For last year's sequel to the 2005 smash-hit comedy by Phranakorn Film, rapper Joey Boy stepped into the role originated by Pongsak "Teng Terdterng" Pongsuwan. He plays a motor-mouthed Buddhist monk who's transferred to a poor village populated by eccentric rustics who are troubled by explosions from a nearby quarry. Screens at 2.30pm on Sunday, June 14 at SFW CentralWorld.
- Miss Yenrudee (น.ส.เย็นฤดี ) -- Kamtorn Thapkanlai directs this 1983 comedy about a rosy-cheeked girl whose crowning as the beauty queen of Buffalo Field Village attracts the attention of a young city lawyer and the Miss Thailand pagaent. Will fame go the the country girl's head? Toon Hiranyasap (Invisible Waves) and Piyamas Monyakul star. Screens at 5pm on Sunday, June 14 at Paragon Cineplex.
- Assembly of Thai Gags -- This is a 90-minute compilation of comic scenes and short films in Thai cinema from past to present, featuring many master Thai comics. Screens at 7.30pm on June 15 at SFW CentralWorld. Short films in the program are:
- Why Must I Be a Comedian? -- Witthaya Thongyooyong (Fan Chan, The Possible) directed this 2001 12-minute short starring Fan Chan child actor "Jack" Chalermpol Tikumpornteerawong as the son of a famous comedian who doesn't want to be a comedian. Big Jack, now 20 years old, is on the jury for the festival's Short Film Competition.
- Khun Krabi -- This is Dek-Kong director Taweewat Wantha's first short from 2002. The nine-minute comedy introduces the hero Khun Krabi who wants to avenge his father's death. The character was later featured in Taweewat's uproarious 2005 horror comedy SARS Wars. Taweewat is a member of the jury for the festival's International Competition.
- Kling Wai Korn Por Sorn Wai (กลิ้งไว้ก่อนพ่อสอนไว้) -- Directed by Somjing Srisuphap, this 1991 teen comedy is about four boys of the “Rolling Stones” gang who are first-rate trouble-makers and dread the end of their school days because its means real life is fast approaching. Screens at 5.30pm on Tuesday, June 16 at Paragon Cineplex.
For now website doesn't list whether the films have subtitles, in English or Thai or otherwise. I'm told that some of the Thai films are subtitled and some are not. I suspect that mainly the older Thai films -- the ones I'd likely want to see -- will not have subtitles.
There are still plenty of others to see.
The closing film has been revealed as Look for a Star (游龍戲鳳 / Yau Lung Hei Fung) , a Hong Kong comedy from earlier this year starring Andy Lau and Shu Qi, about a billionaire casino owner who falls in love with a cabaret dancer. The screening is at 4.30 on Tuesday, June 16, at CentralWorld, but the red-carpet proceedings for the gala awards show start at 6, so media people will have to choose whether to watch the film or cover the awards.
(Cross-published at Bangkok Cinema Scene)