Tears of the Black Tiger was the reason I started this blog. After seeing it, I wanted to find out more about Thai cinema and why someone in Thailand would make a cowboy movie. I'm still not sure I know the answer to that. Why does anyone do what they do?
Anyway, Washingtonians can see first-hand what started it all for me at 7 tonight (August 13, Washington, D.C. time) at the Freer Gallery of Art as part of the Asia Trash! series.
The Onion AV Club's D.C. Decider has been covering the series, which so far has shown other eye-popping genre flicks, The Host and Versus, and wraps up next week with Tokyo Gore Police. It's pretty cool that Tears of the Black Tiger was chosen to be part of this.
The AV Club's Chelsea Bauch interviewed programmer Tom Vick, who offers his views on Tears of the Black Tiger, its director Wisit Sasanatieng and their place in Thai cinema. Here's an excerpt:
AVC: How does the director fit into that cultural framework?
TV: He’s done a lot of different types of films. He’s quite popular in Thailand, this being one of his early ones. He made a horror movie [The Unseeable] recently, but, again, he’s another one of these directors who grew up watching genre movies so he’s very steeped in that tradition.
AVC: It was the first Thai film screened at Cannes. What gave it that international leverage?
TV: It really blew people's minds because it’s just pure cinema. It’s also something new. When you see it without knowing anything about Thai cinema, it’s just like, "Where the hell did this come from?" It took it a while before it made it here. Miramax had it for a while, and they kept it on a shelf for years, so I’m glad it finally made it out.
AVC: Has that opened the door for more Thai films or filmmakers on the global stage?
TV: Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who made Syndromes and a Century, has now become sort of a global name. Unfortunately, the political situation and the censorship situation in Thailand is so strange that I think it’s hard for a lot of filmmakers to get a foothold and gain the support they need. But there’s also all these Ong-Bak martial-arts films that are starting to come out, so I think Thailand is really starting to get there.
Being immersed in Thai cinema all the time, I find it refreshing sometimes to read comments from someone who's a step or two back from it. Makes it all seem new again.