Friday, December 4, 2009
Shadow of the Naga actually has a release date
Shadow of the Naga, the "monks with guns" movie that premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival, finally has a release date. It's penciled in on Pantip's 2010 calendar to open on February 4.
Selected for TIFF's Contemporary World Cinema program by programmer Raymond Phathanavirangoon, Shadow of the Naga got a decent reception in Toronto, with critic Grady Hendrix noting "[This] low-key Thai flick about criminals becoming Buddhist monks [h]as all the strengths and weaknesses of Thailand's mainstream commercial cinema, which means we'll all probably never hear from it again."
His words seemed prophetical as Shadow of the Naga (นาคปรก, Nak Prok) was shelved by Sahamongkol Film International over concerns that its subject matter might be deemed inappropriate by the deemers of such things.
This is despite the assurances of director Pawat Panangkasiri who has said his movie was a way of commenting on the real-life scandals that have brought controversy to Thai Buddhism. "Why [do] we feel we have to cover up bad things that happen in the monkhood. If we don’t fix them, surely we are leaving our religion open to exploitation,” he said last year.
The crime drama involves three robbers -- Somchai Khemklad, Ray MacDonald and Pitisak Yaowananon -- who bury their loot in a spot that they later find has had a monastery built on top of it. So they ordain and go about monastic life while they try to figure out a way to get their buried treasure. Surely, there will be a spiritual awakening for the three hoodlums?
Hopefully I'll find out on February 4.