Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bad Lieutenant, Sawasdee Bangkok are opener and closer as Bangkok International Film Festival completes its line-up

The complete line-up is listed on the website for the 2009 Bangkok International Film Festival, which will open with Werner Herzog's and zany Nicolas Cage's Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and close with the complete nine-segment version of the Sawasdee Bangkok short-film omnibus.

In between, all the sections have been completed, including the Thai and Southeast Asian Panoramas and additions to the Southeast Asian Competition.

Under Special Programs, there is a retrospective for the late Thai director Cherd Songsri (1931-2006). Four of his films will be shown: Behind the Painting, Muen and Rid, Ploy Talay and his masterpiece, The Scar (Plae Kao).

There will also be a retrospective for Malaysian director Yasmin Ahmad, who died in July. Three of her films will be shown: Chocolate, Sepet and her latest, Talentime.

There are also two more short-film packages -- the 10-film Indonesian omnibus 9808 and this year's edition of the Jeonju Digital Project, with shorts by Hong Sang-soo (Lost in the Mountains), Naomi Kawase (Koma) and Lav Diaz (Butterflies Have No Memories).

Here is the Main Competition, which is for the directors' first or second features:

  • Across the River, Abbas Ahmadi Motlagh, Iran
  • Adrift, Thac Chuyen Bui, Vietnam
  • Altiplano, Peter Brosens & Jessica Woodworth, Belgium
  • Breathless, Yang Ik-june, South Korea
  • Everyone Else, Maren Ade, Germany
  • Huacho, Alejandro Fernández Almendras, Chile
  • I Killed My Mother, Xaviar Dolan, Canada
  • Inland, Tariq Teguia, Algeria
  • The Search, Pema Tseden, China

The Southeast Asian Competition:

  • Aurora, Adolfo B. Alix, Jr., Philippines (World Premiere)
  • Call If You Need Me, James Lee, Malaysia
  • HERE, Ho Tzu Nyen, Singapore
  • Imburnal, Sherad Anthony Sanchez, Philippines
  • In the House of Straw, Yeo Siew Hua, Singapore
  • Independencia, Raya Martin, Philippines
  • Nymph, Pen-ek Ratanruang, Thailand
  • The Forbidden Door, Joko Anwar, Indonesia
  • The Moon at the Bottom of the Well, Nguyen Vinh Son, Vietnam

The Southeast Asian Panorama:

  • Female Games, Kan Lume (Singapore)
  • Jamila and The President, Ratna Sarumpaet, Indonesia
  • Jermal, Ravi Bharwani, Rayya Makarim and Utawa Tresno, Indonesia
  • Kinatay, Brillante Mendoza, Philippines
  • Manila, Adolfo B. Alix Jr. and Raya L. Martin, Philippines

And the Thai Panorama section, which is intended as a best-of package of commercial Thai films released in the past year or so:

It's interesting to see what's been chosen and what's been left out.

Of regional interest in the Documentary Showcase is the Bangkok premiere of Uruphong Raksasad's Agrarian Utopia as well as Anders Høgsbro Østergaard's Burma VJ and Amir Muhammad's Malaysian Gods.

And there's one called Double Take by Johan Grimonprez that is difficult to ignore: It stars the master himself, Alfred Hitchcock, as a paranoid history professor, unwittingly caught up in a double take on the Cold War period.

The World Cinema section are some of the usual suspects from Cannes, but the one that catches my eye is the Norwegian Nazi zombie thriller, Dead Snow.

Now the next interesting thing will be looking at how all these films line up on a schedule, how many of them I will actually be able to see and how tickets are going to be sold, because the festival is split across two venues this year, the SF World Cinema at CentralWorld and down the street at Paragon Cineplex. Perhaps the press conference on Monday afternoon will have some answers.

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