Films from Burma, Cambodia, East Timor and Laos -- countries not often or ever heard from when it comes to the region's cinema -- will be featured alongside dramas and documentaries from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in "My Dear ASEAN", a film series put on by the Southeast Asian Studies program at Thammasat University in Bangkok.
The Thai entry will be Aditya Assarat's Wonderful Town.
The series starts on Friday, October 30, and runs on Fridays and Saturdays until December 4. Each screening will be followed by commentary from scholars and experts. The show time is at 1pm. Here's the lineup:
- October 30 -- Burma VJ, 2008, directed by Anders Østergaard (Denmark/Sweden/Burma) with commentary by Soe Aung. This documentary covers the efforts of Joshua, a Burmese video journalist based in Chiang Mai who funnels video footage from his cell of reporters out of the closed country of Burma during the 2007 uprising by Buddhist monks.
- October 31 -- Un Soir Apres La Guerre (One Evening After the War), 1998, directed by Rithy Panh (Cambodia) with commentary by Songyote Waehongsa. After the fall of the Khmer Rouge and the end of the Cambodian Civil War, a former soldier struggling to return to normal life hampers that effort by falling in love with a 19-year-old Phnom Penh bar girl.
- November 6 -- My Magic, 2008, directed by Eric Khoo ( Singapore) with commentary by Kamjohn Louiyapong. An alcoholic magician wants to change his life in order to better care for his 10-year-old son.
- November 7 -- Bagong Buwan (New Moon), 2001, directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya (Philippines) with commentary by Sirote Klampaiboon. A look at the Estrada regime's war against the secessionist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
- November 13 -- Nerakhoon, directed by Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath (U.S./Laos) with commentary by Charnvit Kasetsiri. Twenty-three years in the making, the American cinematographer Kuras doggedly sticks with her friend Thavisouk in telling the story of his family and their flight from Laos to refugee camps in Thailand and eventually to life the U.S.
- November 14 -- Wonderful Town, 2007, directed by Aditya Assarat(Thailand) with commentary by Benedict Anderson. This award-winning romantic drama is set in the small isolated coastal town of Takua Pa in Pang-nga province, which was hit hard by the 2004 tsunami and the pain of that disaster still lingers. The story follows a young architect and his budding relationship with the young woman who runs a small hotel.
- November 20 -- The Rainbow Troops (Laskar Pelangi), 2008, directed by Riri Riza (Indonesia) with commentary by Onanong Thippimol. This drama is about a schoolteacher and the 10 boys she inspired in a poverty-stricken island village.
- November 21 -- Journey from the Fall, 2006, directed by Ham Tran (U.S./Vietnam) with commentary by Sriprapha Petcharamesree. A South Vietnamese family is separated after the Fall of Saigon in 1975, with the husband imprisoned in a re-educational camp while the rest of the family becomes refugee "boat people".
- November 27 -- The Last Communist (Lelaki Komunis Terakhir, 2006, directed by Amir Muhammad (Malaysia) with commentary by Supalak Ganjanakhundee. This hilarious musical documentary takes a whimsical look at the life of Malaysian communist leader Chin Peng and the places he used live. It's been shown at festivals around the world but paradoxically remains banned in Malaysia.
- November 28 -- Long Road To Heaven, 2007, directed by Enison Sinaro (Indonesia) with commentary by Chayanit Poonyarat. This drama looks at the tragedy of the 2002 Bali Bombing from different points of view.
- December 4 -- A Hero’s Journey, 2007, Grace Phan (Singapore/Timor Leste) with commentary by Saranarat Kanjanavanit. This biographical documentary is about Xaxana Gusmao and his struggle to make East Timor an independent country.
The screenings will be in the Rewat Buddhinan Room, Floor U2, in the Pridi Banomyong Library at Thammasat University's Tha Prachan Campus.
(Via Limitless Cinema in Broken English and Matichon; and thanks to Graiwoot!)