An experimental short shot in Bangkok's Lumpini Park, a drama involving a Thai migrant worker in Israel and a Thai-born Laotian refugee's memories are featured in three films at the Toronto International Film Festival, which starts on Thursday.
Lumphini 2552 is a 3-minute short by artist Tomonari Nishikawa, who made it while in Bangkok on an Asian Intellectual Fellowship from the Nippon Foundation, researching experimental cinema in Southeast Asia. From his website:
Images were shot by a still camera, Nikon F3, entirely at Lumphini Park in Bangkok. The hand-processed visual shows the organic patterns found in the monumental park, constructing the systematic yet emotional rhythms and paces on the screen, accompanied by the sound from the visual information on the optical soundtrack. Lumphini is named for Lumbini, a Sanskrit word of the birthplace of the Buddha in Nepal, and 2552 is the Buddhist year (Buddha Era) of 2009. The repetitive numbers in 2552 may represent that one frame shot by a 35mm still camera covers two frames for the 35mm movie format.
It's part of the package, Wavelengths 2: Pro Agri.
The Israeli film, Bena, is part of TIFF's inaugural City to City program, in which is features a line-up of documentaries and fiction films from selected city. The choice of Tel Aviv has caused a controversy. Directed by Niv Klainer, Bena is about father struggling to care for his mentally-ill teenage son. He meets the title character, a Thai migrant worker (Rachel Santillan), and brings her home, partly to give her a place to stay and partly with the idea that she could help out, and "tips an already fragile balance."
Last, in the Short Cuts Canada program there's more trans-border experience in Found, a short film by Indian-born filmmaker Paramita Nath, who documents Toronto poet Souvankham Thammavongsa, who was born in a Lao refugee camp in Thailand. Springing from her book of poems inspired by her father’s discarded scrapbook, Found interweaves photos, home video and animation.
So these are in addition to Same Same But Different, German director Detlev Buck's film shot by a Malaysian crew in Cambodia featuring Thai actress Apinya Sakuljaroensuk in one of the lead roles as Cambodian bargirl, and the strong line-up of films actually from Thailand: Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Nymph and the four-segment omnibus Sawasdee Bangkok in the Contemporary World Cinema section, Tony Jaa's Ong-Bak 2: The Beginning closing Midnight Madness and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's A Letter to Uncle Boonmee and Phantoms of Nabua in the Waveslengths and Future Projections programs.