Saturday, August 22, 2009
Agrarian Utopia, Nymph among early titles for Bangkok International Film Festival
I don't suppose there was any doubt that Agrarian Utopia would make its Bangkok premiere at this year's Bangkok International Film Festival. And I have to believe that even if the film's producers Pimpaka Towira and Mai Meksuwan weren't also directors of programming, the acclaimed documentary-style drama would still find a place there.
Uruphong Raksasad's Agrarian Utopia and Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Nymph are among the titles already listed for next month's fest.
There are also many Southeast Asian films filling out the early line-up, fulfilling Pimpaka's promise that this year's festival would have an even stronger focus on the region.
Agrarian Utopia is part of the Documentary Showcase that also includes Anders Østergaard's Burma VJ, which was assembled from video footage smuggled out of Burma after the 2007 democratic uprisings. There's also Malaysian Gods, Amir Muhammad's latest political documentary. It takes a look at street protests that followed the sacking of Malaysia's reform-minded Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. It wasn't allowed to be screened publicly in Malaysia -- though not banned outright like Muhammad's previous two documentaries -- a move by the Malaysian censors to quiet the film's underground buzz level.
Pen-ek's jungle thriller Nymph is in the Southeast Asian Competition. Other competition entries so far are Call If You Need Me, which looks to surely be a return to romantic dramas by Malaysia's James Lee after his foray into horror with last year's Hysteria. From the Philippines is Sherad Anthony Sanchez's Imburnal, about boys growing up around the sewers of Punta Dumalag, Davao City. There's also The Moon at the Bottom of the Well from Vietnam's Nguyen Vinh Son.
Already up in the Southeast Asian Panorama section are Jermal from Indonesia, directed by Ravi Bharwani, Rayya Makarim and Utawa Tresno and Manila by Adolfo Alix Jr. and Raya Martin from the Philippines.
The Main Competition has a Vietnamese entry: Adrift by Thac Chuyen Bui.
The World Cinema line-up has Lukas Moodysson's globe-trotting family drama Mammoth, starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Michelle Williams and partially set in Bangkok and a southern Thailand island.
Still to come are titles for the Thai Panorama program.
The Bangkok International Film Festival will be held from September 24 to 30.
(Via Thailand Voice and Matthew Hunt)