Sunday, November 15, 2009

WFFBKK '09: More about Mundane History

Mundane History played to a packed auditorium on Thursday night at the World Film Festival of Bangkok. It was the second screening at the festival, after it had been the opening film. Thursday night's show show was more intimate. It was held in one of the regular theaters, instead of Paragon's cavernous Pavalai hall, where it had shown on opening night.

Director Anocha Suwichakornpong, producer Soros Sukhum and actors Phakpoom Surapongsanurak (Ake) and Arkaney Cherkham (Pun) were present for Thursday night's screening and they took part in a Q&A session afterward.

I think a lot of people were surprised to find out that the non-linear structure of the film came about in the editing process, in which Anocha worked with editing ace Lee Chatametikool.

Phakpoom commented that after he read the script, he had no problem doing the controversial bathtub scene.

But Arkaney, a beefy, muscular guy who plays nurse Pun, said his role was challenging. One reason is that Pun and the paralyzed Ake are more intimate than even lovers, because Pun has to attend to nearly everything for Ake -- a scene where Pun has to wash Ake, who had wet himself during the night, and another where Pun turns away while Ake urinates in a bottle -- are particularly poignant. He also said he had difficulty with the scene in which he carries Phakpoom up the stairs. Even with his huge biceps, 11 takes left Arkaney exhausted.

It's a movie well worth seeing a second time because there is so much going on in terms of symbolism. Everything means something. And I'll probably see it a third or maybe even fourth, because there are plans for at least a limited general release in Thailand, probably sometime next year. In Thailand, the film has officially been rated 20+ -- the first Thai film to receive the restrictive rating, under which viewers must be at least 20 years old and IDs must be checked at the cinema.

The film heads back out on the festival circuit next year, where it'll be in competition at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, which has supported Mundane History with its Hubert Bals Fund.

One thing I've really enjoyed about Mundane is its music, by The Photo Sticker Machine and Furniture, which are both slow burn rockers. Embedded below are the two songs, a YouTube upload of Furniture's "Hush, the Dead Are Sleeping", which is used in the mind-blowing ending and an audio link to The Photo Sticker Machine's distortion-heavy "Are You Sure".

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