Tuesday, August 25, 2009

13th Thai Short Film and Video Festival: Reviews Part 2

R.D. Pestonji Awards competition

  • Four Boys, White Whisky and Grilled Mouse (เถียงนาน้อยคอยรัก), Wichanon Somumjarn -- What better way to kick back with your buddies than to hang out in the rice-paddy shelter than to cook up a rat, drink some white firewater and sing a few songs? (5/5)
  • Somwang 2552 (สมหวัง 2552), Thitiwat Samitinan -- Somewhere in Bangkok there's an aging cinema that's still showing Monrak Transistor, and it's where a young man from the countryside has come looking for his father. Though not as bleak as Serbis, it still seeks to examine the meaning of family. (4/5)
  • Moon, Nadta Homsap -- Dude is walking around Bangkok with a boom mic, looking for that "special sound" that Robert Johnson got when he traded his soul to the Devil. Umm, how about looking around at the crossroads of highways 49 and 61 in Mississippi? Just sayin'? (4/5)
  • Francais (ฝรั่งเศส), Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit -- A blind college student is struggling with her studies. But her Braille materials for her French philosophy test aren't ready. "Come back tomorrow night," she's told. But her test is in the morning. She manages to coax her roommate into helping her study -- but the roommate can't speak or read French. It's going to be a long night. (5/5)
  • Mr. Mee Wanna Go to Egypt (พี่หมีอยากไปอียิปต์), Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit -- Two filmmakers are having trouble coming up with their next film for the anti-smoking campaign. They've already done Syndromes and a Cigarette, Last Pipe in the Universe and In the Mood for Smoke, but now they are blocked. When they finally do come up with something, it's a little boy saying "let's smoke." Over and over. (5/5)
  • 5 Minute War, Achira Nokthet -- Nice to see this again. (3/5)
  • Man and Gravity: Plateau, Jakrawal Nilthamrong -- Made while on an artist-in-residence program in Japan, Jakrawal continues exploring the myth of Sisyphus, with a man pushing a pulling a boulder up a hill. (5/5)
  • The Safe House, Attaron Bayan and Chanin Panthong -- A gunman jumps in a guy's car -- picked the wrong guy to carjack. (4/5)

Digital Forum

  • Apai:Mani (อภัย:มณี), Witcha Suyara -- Slick computer animation, live action and animated drawings blend seemlessly in this film-noir-flavored sci-fi fantasy adapted from Suntorn Phu's tale involving flying cars and a head in a refrigerator. (4/5)
  • The Plot (กัด), Krittanut Tarawisid -- Who's playing who in a scheme involving an office worker, a bar girl and a policeman? (4/5)

Siam and a Century

  • Old Heart, Anocha Suwichakornpong -- Will a change really come? To Thailand? (5/5)
  • Is Woman (คือผู้หญิง), Sanchai Chotirosseranee -- Found video footage (as in found on TV) looks at different kinds of women -- young giggly teens at a dim sum buffet and actress Jintara Sukkapet on a classic old TV soap opera as well as a child in TV commercial contrasted with children begging on the streets of Bangkok. (4/5)
  • Encantos, Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa -- Thanks to Wiwat, the films of Filipino director Lav Diaz have lodged themselves in the brainpans of several indie filmmakers, critics and other seriously sick film people in Thailand, thanks to the ongoing series, Death in the Land of Melancholia: Lav Diaz Retrospective in Thailand (it moves to Phuket this weekend). Here is more found footage, again on a TV screen and from there springs an exploration of an oceanside landscape, made bleak and lonely in the trademark Diaz minimalistic monochrome, with metaphoric original narration. (5/5)

The awards for the 13th Thai Short Film and Video Festival will be handed out today at 5 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. Again, as I explained in Part 1 of my capsule reviews from this year's festival, not all the films I saw are mentioned here, but just because I don't note it, doesn't mean I didn't appreciate or love it -- it just means I can't explain what I saw. Sorry. Until next year.

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