Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pen-ek's Headshot comes home

Pen-ek Ratanaruang's latest feature Headshot (Fon Tok Kuen Fah, ฝนตกขึ้นฟ้า) opens this week in Thailand after premiering on the festival circuit.

Based on a short novel by acclaimed Thai writer Win Lyovarin, it's a film-noir flavored thriller about a hitman who is shot and wakes up from a coma and sees everything upside-down. He then finds himself the target of revenge killers and has to go on the run.

Headshot was initially set for release in Thailand on November 3 but was then postponed because of the floods in suburban Bangkok. It had been penciled in for December 1, but when the Twilight movie Breaking Dawn settled on that date for its Thai release, Headshot was shifted a week earlier to avoid a clash. Apparently, those teenybopper vampires and werewolves are popular in Thailand, though I have no idea why.

This is the first feature that Pen-ek's done without the Thai studio Five Star Production. He's gone the indie route and is now with the upstart production marque Local Color, started by producer Pawas Sawatchaiyamet (formerly Saksiri Chantarangsri). The Thai release is similar to other indie Thai films in that it's limited to just the SF cinemas chain rather than being blanketed in all the multiplexes.

The press screening was last night at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld, where the ceiling of eighth-floor events area was festooned with upside-down umbrellas as a way of playing on Headshot's Thai title Fon Tok Kuen Fah, literally "rain falling up to the sky".

I've got a review in the works. I liked it and will post my thoughts about it here in a few days.

Headshot had its world premiere back in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

It also screened in competition at the Tokyo fest, where Pen-ek did an official interview. You can read it at the festival website.

The film also screened at the Vancouver fest, where IndieWire gave it a favorable review.

Internationally, the distribution rights are being handled by Memento, which has previously done deals with Aditya Assarat for Wonderful Town and Hi-So. Wild Side – coolest meowing cat logo since MTM Enterprises – has French rights and Kino Lorber for North America. Further support for the film has come from the Culture Ministry's Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, the Goteborg International Film Festival Fund and the Tokyo Project Gathering.

There's a Thai trailer for Headshot and it's embedded below.

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