Saturday, November 21, 2009

Retrospective for Nonzee at the International Film Festival of India

It's film-festival season in India. In the first of two reports, Lekha Shankar looks at the retrospective for Nonzee Nimibutr and the other Thai films in the lineup of Goa's International Film Festival of India.

Story by Lekha J. Shankar

India's biggest film festival, the International Film Festival of India starts on Monday and runs until December 3, and like last year, this year's IFFI has a big Thai film package.

One of the highlights of the festival will be a retrospective of Nonzee Nimibutr's work. Five of his features will be shown, his 1997 debut about 1950s teenage gangsters, Dang Bireley’s and Young Gangsters, 1999's ghost drama Nang Nak, Jan Dara, the Thai-Hong Kong production that caused much controversy for its sex scenes, OK Baytong, which dealt with the religious unrest in southern Thailand, and the pirate fantasy Queens of Langkasuka, his most expensive film, which was screened at the Venice Film Festival but bombed at the domestic box office.

Nonzee, who is currently shooting his second TV serial Metta Mahaniyom for Channel 3 in Pranburi, after the big success of his last TV drama, the action-packed Din Nahm Lom Fire, will attend the grand opening of the Goa festival, which is expected to be attended by many celebrities, including Bollywood stars.

Thai glamour will come from dynamic stage and screen actress "May" Patravarin Timkul, who stars in Jan Dara.

Nonzee has been to many festivals in India. In fact, Nang Nak won a prize at IFFR in 1999.

But for May, this is her first trip, and she says she’s very excited. “It’s an honor and pleasure to attend this important Indian festival!”

Another Thai film will be Yongyoot Thongkongtoon’s Best of Times, which is this year's Thai Oscar entry. The veteran producer-director for GTH will also attend the festival.

There will be Thanit Jitnujkul’s Samchuk, the heart-warming drama about a teacher reforming a bunch of drug-addicted students. Benjarat Vittayathep, of production house Pacific Island Films will attend.

Also showing will be Torpong Tankamhaeng’s debut feature Memory Rak Long, the psychological drama starring Ananda Everingham and Mai Charoenpura.

Actress Mai, an Indophile, was very sorry she could not attend the festival, as she was busy shooting a new film with Meat Grinder director Tiwa Moeithaisong.

However, Memory director Torpong says he's excited to attend his first international film festival.

Last year, top Thai stars Ananda Everingham, Jeed Sangtong Ket-Uthong, Akara Amarttayakul and Krissada Sukosol attended the IFFR, along with a big line up of Thai films, The Coffin, A Moment in June, Muay Thai Chaya, Chocolate and First Flight.

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