Friday, June 11, 2010

Phuket Film Festival 2010: Who Killed Chea Vichea? lives on

Initially dumped from the schedule in a hasty shuffle in response to poor attendance earlier this week, the documentary Who Killed Chea Vichea? is back in the program of the Phuket Film Festival.

With heart and soul poured into it by director Bradley Cox over the course of five years, Who Killed Chea Vichea?, "a documentary about an untrue story", covers the 2004 slaying of a vocal Cambodian labor activist and the sham murder trial that followed.

Banned from screening in Cambodia, by all accounts I've come across, this is a gripping documentary. There's a trailer at YouTube, which I found pretty difficult to watch, just because the images and story are so powerful. It's embedded below.

Who Killed Chea Vichea? will play at 9.30 on Saturday night at the Green Man pub, in innkeepers Howard's and Nui's fabulous Egyptian-themed hall.

It's in a double bill with the indie English romantic-existential comedy Do Elephants Pray?, which will have director Paul Hills, writer-producer-star Johnnie Hurn and actor John Last in attendance.

The festival has had its ups and downs since reducing its schedule from 10 days to seven.

On Tuesday night, the festival reported that around 60 people turned out at Cape Yamu for the Meet the Director night with Darnell Martin of Cadillac Records.

And festival director Scott Rosenberg says around 10 people attended the Thai premiere of the Vietnamese actioner Bay Rong (Clash) with Johnny Nguyen and Veronica Ngo, and hung around to meet director Le Thanh Son.

But the Alternative Lifestyle Day on Wednesday was a bust, with the films and party cancelled. Ticketholders can use their tickets to get into any other film that's left.

Friday has a full lineup of the festival at the Coliseum Paradise Cineplex in Phuket Town, with the French films A Bout de Souffle (Breathless) at noon and the animated Princes et Princesses at 2.

The star-studded Thai premiere of Bitter/Sweet is on Friday night at 7 at the Coliseum Paradise followed by a reception at the festival's hospitality partner, The Vijitt Resort.

More movies on Saturday at the Coliseum are the Thai-Hollywood romance Bitter/Sweet at noon, Bollywood-Chinese martial-arts action in Chadni Chowk to China at 2, Bay Rong (Clash) at 5.30 and the sci-fi thriller Repo Men at 7.30.

The festival closes on Sunday night with the premiere of Yuthlert Sippapak's hitman drama Friday Killer at Stereolab nightclub on Surin Beach.

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