Water Drops for Life (หยาดน้ำ เพื่อ ชีวิต), a collection of 11 short films commissioned by Thailand's Royal Initiative Discovery Project (โครงการ ปิดทองหลังพระ) and produced by My Diwa, is playing in limited free screenings around Bangkok until Wednesday, September 2.
The project is in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Royal Development Center, which has aided rural development in Thailand by improving water resources and the promotion and marketing of local produce.
A common theme running through each of the films is the wisdom of His Majesty the King, especially his sufficiency economy philosophy.
Filmmakers taking part include veteran director Thanit Jitnukul, Silpathorn Award-winning performing artist Nimit Pipithkul, Fan Chan co-director Vithaya Thongyuyong and two actresses trying their hand at shooting a movie, "Kratae" Supaksorn Chaimongkol and Napakpapha "Mamee" Nakprasit.
Here's the rundown of the films.
- Subconscious (Ruang Nai Jai), Nimit Piptthkul -- Set in a coastal village, an angry boy, tired of toiling with this wood-gatherer father, is taught patience when a puppet troupe visits his school and teaches him how to build and perform with a marionette. Tears well up in the boy's eyes and drop down on the face of puppet, making it look like marionette is crying.
- Hope, Pisuth Praesangeiam -- A mother whose son has been missing since a helicopter crash stays at an army base near the crash site, awaiting word if her son is alive.
- The Photographer, Vithaya Thongyuyong -- A humorous entry from one of the six directors of Fan Chan. Here, an elderly woman, apparently inspired by His Majesty, who always seems to be photographed while using a camera, has acquired a digital camera but doesn't know how to use it. She tries to convince her young grandson to stop playing videogames long enough to help her out.
- Mr Kiew, A Proud Citizen, Thanit Jitnukul -- The veteran director offers a docu-drama look at a real character from the streets of Bangkok -- a "tricycle man" who supports himself by salvaging recyclable trash around the Sathorn area. He earns about 200 baht a day -- enough to pay for rent on his tricycle motorike, eat and have savings to pay rent on his room. He can't afford to get sick, so to keep himself healthy, he goes on daily runs in Lumpini Park, dragging a tire behind him to add weight. A young woman hangs out with him for a day for a class assignment. The man has no Thai ID, yet is a patriot through and through, wearing Thai flag regalia. And the walls of his small room are covered with images of the Royal Family and kings of the Chakri Dynasty -- pictures, it's implied, that he found in the trash. "Some things are too valuable to throw away," he says.
- Faith, Napakpapha Nakprasit -- The actress gets behind the camera for this story of a foolish young businessman who is all "buy, buy, buy" while he orders huge meals, hardly eats any of it and leaves a 500 baht tip. Of course his world comes crashing down pretty quickly, and he must learn to make due with what he's got. He starts getting his leftovers boxed up to eat later.
- Just a Difference, Supaksorn Chaimongkol -- Another actress makes her directorial debut in this story about a brother who takes his blind younger sister to a special school and meets someone unexpected. The students sing a song composed by the King.
- Role Model, Chinawat Tangsuthijit -- Elderly men sit and talk about the virtues of a good society.
- Ending and Starting, Sukho Wesalee -- A small flower, spouting up in the unlikeliest of places provides inspiration.
- I Am Pod, Amnard Thangsomboon -- Customers at a restaurant where a boy is working leave behind a book, The Story of Tongdaeng, written by the King about his virtuous and much beloved dog. The boy aims to give the book back.
- Khaki, Sinut Kamukamakul -- Comedian Udom Songsang portrays a dutiful traffic policeman who isn't taking bribes and hopes to instill the same sense of duty in his grandson, who is chafing at having to wear his Boy Scout uniform to school.
- The Picture, Vitidnan Rojanapanich -- Young men in a poor village try to raise money to put on a big celebration for the King's birthday, but they find that everything they need is right there in the village.
Water Drops of Life is showing at 5 on Sunday, August 31, and at 7 nightly from Monday to Wednesday at Paragon, Esplanade Ratchadaphisek, Major Ratchayothin and EGV Pinklao. Free tickets are availabe in the cinema lobbies about 30 minutes before showtime.