Sunday, July 11, 2010
Sawasdee Bangkok to make broadcast premiere
The nine-segment short-film anthology Sawasdee Bangkok (สวัสดีบางกอก) is set for broadcast on Monday, July 12 on TV Thai, the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (TBPS).
Commissioned by TPBS, the shorts are by an all-star roster of Thai directors: Bhandit Rittakol, Ruethaiwan Wongsirasawasdi, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Wisit Sasanatieng, Kongdej Jaturanrasamee, Prachya Pinkaew, Aditya Assarat, Chookiat Sakveerakul and Santi Taepanich.
The series leads off with Maha Nakorn (มาหานคร), the last film by veteran director Bhandit Rittakol. The short premiered at last year's Bangkok International Film Festival on the eve of his death on October 1. Maha Nakorn stars Supakorn Kitsuwan and Intira Charoenpura as a country couple visiting the city.
Wisit directs Sightseeing (ทัศนา), which stars "Tak" Bongkot Kongmalai as a blind woman who lives under a bridge. She's given a unique tour of the city by an imaginative fellow who makes her think the mundane modern city is actually a fantastic mythical land.
Ruethaiwan, the director of Wai Onlawan 4, aka Oops, There's Dad, recalls nostalgic memories of Bangkok's Chinatown in Lost But Not Forgotten (หลงแต่ไม่ลืม), which has musician-actor "Pe" Arak Amornsupasiri and singing star Winai Bandurak encountering each other on the No. 40 ordinary bus to Yaowarat Road.
Silence by Pen-ek follows a young woman (Diet Pills singer Ploy Horwang, the little sis of Cris) on a rough night out. She suffers car trouble and gets help from a strange street character played by Pen-ek's Nymph star "Peter" Nopachai Jayanama.
Aditya's Bangkok Blues stars the comedy team of Ananda Everingham and Louis Scott, who deadpan their way through a segment that has Louis dealing with girl problems while Ananda encounters a young woman in a wrecked urban playground.
Bangkok Stories (เสนห์บางกอก) by Prachya is a lively series of short observations about city life, including traffic-light countdown clocks, food courts, censorship and a tip on using the toilet when there's no toilet paper – a frequent occurrence in Bangkok.
Chookiat's Sisters (พี่น้อง) is a childhood drama about an awkward little girl struggling in the shadow of her swan-like gymnast older sister.
Perhaps my favorite segment is I Love BKK (กรุงเทพที่รัก) by Santi Taepanich. It's a fast-paced documentary look at Bangkok that focuses on various colorful characters, including Chuwit Kamolvisit, the wild-eyed former massage parlor king who became a crusading politician and unsuccessful candidate for governor of Bangkok.
Finally, there's Pi Makham (ผีมะขาม) by Kongdej. The story, which turns out to be a rather dark thriller, is about a young man's night with a woman he picked up in Sanam Luang.
Aside from BKKIFF '09, the Thai PBS broadcasts are the only way to see all the shorts, which each run about a half hour. A package of four, comprising the shorts by Wisit, Pen-ek, Aditya and Kongdej, have previously been featured at various other film festivals.
The entire package of nine shorts, running about 4.5 hours in all, will be broadcast over two nights on July 12 and 13 at 8.20pm. And then each short is scheduled to be shown again over the
course of July and August.
Update: The July 12 broadcast wasn't the full versions of the films. Rikker tweets that the broadcast consisted of "spoilery synoptic trailers". Seems to me like a pointless waste of airtime.
Update 2: The shorts will be aired individually, at 8.20pm as follows: July 19, Mahanakorn; July 20, Sightseeing; July 26, Lost But Not Forgotten; July 27, Silence; August 2, Bangkok Blues; August 3, Bangkok Stories; August 9, Sisters; August 10, I Love BKK; August 16, Tamarind Ghost; August 17, A Look at the Nine Shorts. Kong Rithdee in the Bangkok Post has more.