Dear Galileo (Nee Tam Galileo, หนีตามกาลิเลโอ) opened in Thai cinemas today. The GTH comedy-drama is directed by Nithiwat Tharathorn, who follows two young Thai women as they head for Europe in a bid to escape their problems at home. One's flunked out of university and the other has been dumped by her boyfriend. The girls have all kinds of adventures, and take odd jobs, working in restaurants to earn money along the way.
It stars Chutima Teepanat and Jarinporn Junkiat, as well as Ray MacDonald, who plays a Thai guy the girls meet during their journey.
This is the second solo feature for Nithiwat, who made his debut as one of the six directors of Fan Chan and then made the teen comedy-romance Seasons Change, which also starred Chutima.
The title is a metaphor taken from the concept embraced by 15th century Italian physicist Galileo Galilei that the Earth is not the center of the universe -- by getting out and discovering there's more to the world than Thailand or their own life's troubles, the girls discover that not everything revolves around just them.
The production hit London, Paris, Venice and Pisa. Kong Rithdee's story in last Friday's Bangkok Post detailed the logistics of getting permission to shoot at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, in Galileo's hometown, but is on church grounds, which made things tricky because the church considered him to be a heretic. Here's an excerpt:
What, inquired the church, would a Thai movie have anything to do with Galileo?
"We had to send our contact in Italy to explain to them," says Nithiwat. "We assured them that it's not a film about Galileo; it's just a film that quotes Galileo. They heard us and granted us the permission to have the Leaning Tower all to ourselves - but not for long, just for an hour in the morning, before the tourists came."
The article then goes further into the message of Dear Galileo and Nithiwat finding his voice as a director.
In an article in today's Daily Xpress/The Nation, Parinyaporn Pajee talked to Nithiwat and discovers that Dear Galileo is based on the director's own experiences of living and working abroad.
People dream of a happy life in London or Paris with lots of spare time to travel around but it's not like that. When you work in a restaurant, you spend most of your time indoors and you stay in a small space to save money.
"I know many people do eventually settle down overseas and have a happy life but for me, there's no place like home," he says.
I wonder if Nithiwat was wearing ruby slippers and clicked his heels three times as he said that?
I can't believe I've only just now seen the full-length trailer for this. Have a look. It's embedded below.