Saturday, August 14, 2010

Shutter's Banjong Pisanthanakun says Hello Stranger

Seems like everyone is getting in on the trend for South Korean pop culture in Thailand.

Last month, there was Poj Arnon's romance released by Phranakorn, Kao Rak Thee Korea (เการัก ที่เกาหลี, also Sorry Saranghaeyo).

Now comes GTH with a romantic comedy, Guan Muen Ho (กวน มึน โฮ ). Originally called Knowing Me, Knowing You, the official international English title is how Hello Stranger.

It's the solo bow by Banjong Pisanthanakun, who makes the switch to romantic comedy from horror after co-directing Shutter and Alone with Parkpoom Wongpoom and doing the comedic segments for the Phobia and Phobia 2 portmanteau horror movies.

The story has a young woman (newcomer "Noonaa" Neungtida Sophon), who's obsessed with South Korean TV dramas, and a young guy ("Ter" Chantavit Dhanasevi from Coming Soon). He doesn't get the whole Korean craze but signs up for a package tour anyway because he's lonely. And so he meets the girl and the pair have all sorts of wacky adventures while travelling around South Korea.

Kong Rithdee interviews Banjong in yesterday's Bangkok Post, and Banjong says that the movie is meant to be a satire of the Thai fascination with Korean music, movies, TV shows, fashion and hairstyles, but will have a romantic angle. He explains:

I mean to tease the people who are crazy about Korean pop culture," says the director, "but I also mean to understand what makes them feel that way. I present the two sides, and in the end I'm making a romantic movie."

"The man is anti-romantic, while the girl is crazy about Korean romantic dramas," says Banjong. "The film will show that it's aware of the cliches and dramatisation of romantic movies, but at the same time, I'm doing everything based on the idea of a romantic movie. It's a satire, but it's also a genre movie."

There's an English-subtitled trailer at YouTube and below.

Meanwhile, still to come is Red Eagle director Wisit Sasanatieng's Iron Pussy: A Kimchi Affair, which has performance artist Michael Shaowanasai's movie heroine falling in love in Busan. It's supposed to debut at the Pusan International Film Festival.

And in October, Bangkok audiences will get to see Phuket as part of the Director's Screen Project. Aditya Assarat's short film turns the tables and has a Korean actress (Lim Su-jeong) coming to Thailand. Shown around the island by her hotel limo driver (Sorapong Chatree), she falls in love with the old-timey traditions of the island resort.

Already pre-sold at the Cannes Film Market, Hello Stranger is in Thai cinemas on Thursday.

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