Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Naresuan 3 finally ready to set sail

Four years in the making, and repeatedly delayed from year to year as the production dragged on and on, the third entry in director MC Chatrichalerm Yukol's Naresuan franchise finally hits the big screen this week with The Legend of King Naresuan Part III: Naval Battle (ตำนานสมเด็จพระนเรศวรมหาราชภาค 3 ตอน ยุทธนาวี, Tamnan Somdej Phra Naresuan Maharaj Part 3: Yutthanawee).

Having proclaimed sovereignty, King Naresuan the Great (Lt. Colonel Wanchana Sawasdee) faces a new threat from a spy in his midst. The traitor's flight in a Chinese junk leads to the vaunted river battle with an armada of royal barges. Later, Naresuan clamps a sword in this teeth as he battles the Burmese.

Along with Lt. Col "Bird" Wanchana, the cast returning for this outing includes Sorapong Chatree as the wise warrior monk, "Peter" Nopachai Jayanama as Naresuan's boyhood friend Lord Rachamanu, Taksaorn Paksukcharoen as the king's companion Lady Maneechan, Chatchai Plengpanich as King Thamaracha, Grace Mahadumrongkul as the king's sister Princess Supankulayanee and Inthira Charoenpura as the warrior woman Lurkin.

Tony Jaa, at one time slated to portray a slave, does not appear in the cast. After production of Jaa's Ong-Bak 2 hit a snag, Tony was dropped from Naresuan. "Deaw" Chupong Changprung was reportedly to take Jaa's place, but I don't see any sign of him either.

"Tok" Supakorn Kitsuwon, star of such movies as Monrak Transistor and Fah Talai Jone, plays a role I think was meant for Jaa or Deaw, of a shirtless screaming dude with long scraggly hair.

The lavish, sweeping concept of the Naresuan films builds on what "Than Mui" Chatrichalerm started with his 2002 historical epic Suriyothai, which was the most expensive Thai film at the time and still holds the box-office record with earnings of 500 million baht.

With a cast of thousands, including a literal army of extras (actual Royal Thai Army soldiers) and a purpose-built studio in Kanchanaburi Province, the scale of the Naresuan films is like nothing ever attempted before in Thailand. Even Hollywood isn't making movies like this anymore – they just use CGI.

The budget for the entire franchise, which for now is planned to stand at four films, is reportedly estimated to top the 1 billion baht mark.

Some of the funding for the movies has come from the Thai government, which has been controversial. Fulfilling a promise by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to support Naresuan 3 and 4, the Culture Ministry initially planned to support the films with 100 million baht of its Strong Thailand "creative economy" fund – half the money – with the other half doled out to dozens of smaller film projects.

After indie filmmakers hollered foul, the Culture Ministry's support was reduced, mainly because the Commerce Ministry was already giving Naresuan around 300 million baht, of which the Culture Ministry said it was unaware.

Still to come is The Legend of King Naresuan Part IV: Elephant Battle, which will depict "the great Battle of Yuthahatthi", probably the last great conflict of the war-elephant era, in which Naresuan fought the Burmese crown prince. Part 4 had initially been penciled in for release around August 12, Her Majesty the Queen's birthday. But it's still being filmed and is now a contender for release on the next auspicious date on the calendar, December 5, His Majesty the King's birthday.

The Legend of King Naresuan Part III had its premiere on Friday in a royal screening for HM the Queen at the Chalermkrung Theatre. A press and VIP screening was on Monday at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld.

It finally hits cinemas for the rest of us on Thursday, though I've been told that English-subtitled prints are slow in coming and probably won't start unspooling in downtown Bangkok cinemas until sometime on Saturday.

In the meantime, take a look at the trailer if you haven't seen it already.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: Sop Dek 2002

  • Directed by Poj Arnon
  • Starring Somchai Khemklad, Pitchanart Sakakorn, Chudapa Jankhat, Arisara Tongborisuth
  • Released in Thai cinemas on March 10, 2010; rated 15+
  • Wise Kwai's rating: 3/5

The latest ripped-from-the-headlines thriller to hit the big screen in Thailand is Sop Dek 2002 (ศพเด็ก 2002, 2002: The Unborn Child), which is based on the scandal last year of the discovery of 2,002 fetuses in a Bangkok Buddhist temple that had come from illegal abortion clinics.

A movie-of-the-week and moralistic social-message film, there's a notification at the end that states its aim of preventing unwanted teen pregnancies, which is laudable, but I kind of doubt anyone will take it seriously. Because, after all, it's a movie by Poj Arnon.

And that's too bad.

This creepy thriller is a welcome departure from Poj's transvestite comedies. For the most part, it holds together as solidly serious suspense but runs off the rails in the third act as it seeks to tie things up and ensure that all the characters get what's coming to them, according to karma.

"Tao" Somchai Kemklad stars as Tri, a crime-scene photographer whose work puts him on a case of a woman left for dead after an abortion gone wrong. The young man is married to pretty schoolteacher Pim (horror queen "May" Pitchanart Sakakorn) and they have a 5-year-old daughter, Yaimai.

The little girl keeps seeing an imaginary friend in the shadows. She insists it's her little brother, which immediately casts suspicion on the parents.

The couple's apartment is pretty creepy with its dark wood and stark black-and-white photos of malnourished street urchins supposedly taken by Tri.

Meanwhile, there's an actress (Arisara Tongborisuth) who is pregnant and is wondering what to do with her baby.

And there's a teenage couple, students in teacher Pim's class. The girl becomes determined to have abortion after her jugeared boyfriend (Peerawit Bunnag) won't man up and commit to supporting her and the kid.

After abortion pills ordered from a website don't work, the girl goes to a rundown illegal abortion clinic run by a hard-bitten chain-smoking former nurse (veteran actress Chudapa Jankhat). Here's where the glorious gore is on full display. With blood dripping everywhere, blood-coated surgical gloves, blood-soaked instruments and pans and vessels filled with blood, the abortion doc goes to work with the aid of sickening sound effects. A wriggling fetus is yanked from the womb with forceps, plopped in bag and tossed on a pile of other bags in an adjoining room.

When it comes time to take out the trash, the abortion doc loads up her motorbike and visits the undertaker at a Buddhist temple. The fetal corpses are kept in numbered compartments at the back of the temple, where they await cremation. But the broken-down furnace puts cremations on hold, so the numbered cabinets become full. Which is what happened in the case of last year's real-life scandal.

The little girl Yaimai keeps seeing her little brother and getting into bizarre situations, like wandering off to the haunted Buddhist temple and scaring her mother half to death. Or she'll find herself playing on an ominously squeaking playground swing in the middle of the night or out on a ledge of the apartment, with no explanation of how she got there.

And Tri, given to an increasing amount of brooding as time wears on, is starting to see things himself – ghostly figures in photos he's taken, just like in the movie Shutter. He tries to take video of himself and his wife sleep – kinda kinky – and it's like something out of Paranormal Activity with the tripod repeatedly knocked down.

The suspense jiggers higher and higher, until the threads that bind these characters together are pulled tight.

And it's kind of ridiculous and fantastic at the same time, with one character smothering in a grave that's full of crawling dead babies and another sent over the brink by a swimming pool full of blood.

The cops come calling at the temple, and the rescue squad pulls out 2,002 bodies, and places them in 2,002 little body bags, just like in last year's abortion scandal.

Only Tri isn't among the crime photographers taking pictures.

Meanwhile, the high school boy visits his girlfriend in the hospital after her botched abortion, and apologizes for not "having protection". So at least there's that. But I wonder how many youngsters (or grown-ups for that matter) will take that bit of advice about preventive measures seriously?

Related posts:

Review: Love Julinsee (Rak Man Yai Mak)

  • Directed by Chainarong Tampong and Sakol Tiachareon
  • Starring Irada Siriwut, Nuttapong Piboonthanakiet, Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, Tisanat Sornsuek, Alex Rendell
  • Released in Thai cinemas on February 3, 2011; rated 15+
  • Wise Kwai's rating: 2/5

Love Julinsee (Rak Man Yai Mak, เลิฟ จุลินทรีย์ รักมันใหญ่มาก) is a big tease.

This compilation of four youth-oriented romance stories by studio M-Thirtynine got censors all worked up when the trailer showed schoolkids in uniform almost kissing. The censors banned the trailer and forced the studio to cut a new one, but the cultural watchdogs actually did the studio a favor by giving them free publicity for what turns out to be an extremely insubstantial movie with stories that don't really go anywhere.

If you've seen the trailers, then you've pretty well seen the movie. All the best bits are there.

The premise has four groups of youngsters heading off to last December's Big Mountain Music Festival in the mountains of Khao Yai National Park, but the bulk of the action actually takes place before the festival. So the carnival-like spectacle of Big Mountain and the costumed rock band Paradox ends up just being a backdrop or window dressing. Very little of the movie actually happens there.

The first segment has the guitar-playing girl Pla (Irada Siriwut) going to the festival to forget her cheating ex-boyfriend. She caught him in a lie and then strung him along on Internet chat until she could get him at a concert where she then sings a vulgar song to humiliate him in front of everyone. And that's that, aside from some advice from the girl's mother that, yep, men are dogs. Deal with it.

Next is a Chiang Mai high-school boy named Boat (Nuttapong Piboonthanakiet) who thinks he's a player and sets his cap for upperclassman cheerleader Fon. She is lovely young actress Apinya Sakuljaroensuk, all grown up since Pen-ek Ratanaruang's Ploy. She's actually the one who's doing the playing, getting her young man all worked up with clear views of the scenery down her loose-fitting T-shirt and a glimpse of the butterfly tattoo on her belly, winging its way from the waistband of her shorts. She almost kisses him in a steamy session in the car in which they share shredded fish snacks. The denouement is cruel for the young man, who is left cowering in the bushes at a mountaintop scenic overlook while she cheerfully motors off to Khao Yai with her ladyboy cheerleader friends.

The third segment is set at Silpakorn University in Bangkok, where the girl Nao (Tisanat Sornsuek) plays annoyingly juvenile games to get her boyfriend Yoh (Alex Rendell) to tell her she loves him. At the urging of her wisecracking bespectacled girlfriend, Nao tries to make Yoh jealous by walking with another guy. The two come to blows during the rehearsal of a traditional dance play that involves swordfighting. They are swatted on their behinds by the teacher for ruining the play. Gosh, will these two bickering kids ever get together? Who cares? I was just glad when this segment was over.

Finally there's a look at schoolkids growing up in a fishing village, I think in Rayong, along the Eastern Seaboard. Yok (Jirayu La-Ongmanee) and Eue (Monchanok Saengchaipiangpen) are lifelong best friends who take the big step of being boyfriend and girlfriend. This is probably the best segment in terms of where the story goes and how it resolves. The youngsters are dealing with new feelings and emotions, unsure if they like the attention that comes along with being a couple. They are embarrassed to think about what others think, and the girl is reluctant to be kissed because of what others would think and so on. Jealousy rears its head too, when another girl shows interest in Yok. But Eua and Yok go off to the music fest together. However, even out in the middle of the woods, far away from the concert and any prying eyes, she still won't let him kiss her.

Related posts:

Crazy Little Thing Called Love wins in Okinawa

Demonstrating that Thai romance films have strong appeal in other Asian markets, Sahamongkol Film International's box-office blockbuster Sing Lek Lek Thee Riak Wa … Ruk (สิ่งเล็กๆ ที่เรียกว่า...รัก, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, a.ka. First Love) won the award in the audience-chosen Laugh category at the third Okinawa International Movie Festival, which wrapped up over the weekend.

Starring Mario Maurer and "Bai Fern" Pimchanok Lerwisetpibol and directed by Putthiphong Promsakha na Sakon Nakhon and Wasin Pokpong, the ugly-duckling coming-of-age romance also received a special mention from the jury along with Miss Kurosawa Film II by Taku Watanabe.

The Japanese melodrama Hankyu Train by Yoshishige Miyakewon won the prize in the audience-voted Peace category and took festival's top prize, the jury-selected Golden Shiisa Award.

The jury was led by Lee Yong-kwan, chairman of the Pusan International Film Festival, with Chinese actor Wang Rugang, Taiwanese writer-director Chu Yu-Ning and Japanese artist Kiyota Oshiro.

According to Variety, the Okinawa festival was on the verge of cancellation after Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami disasters, but showbiz leaders banded together to make the festival a charity event.

The Okinawa win for Crazy Little Thing Called Love follows an Osaka win earlier this month for the rival GTH romance Hello Stranger.

(Via Jason Gray, Screen Daily)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Review: SuckSeed Huay Khan Thep

  • Directed by Chayanop Boonprakob
  • Starring Jirayu La-ongmanee, Patchara Jirathiwat, Thawat Pornrattanaprasert, Natcha Nualjam
  • Released in Thai cinemas on March 17, 2011; rated 15+
  • Wise Kwai's rating: 4/5

SuckSeed doesn't suck. In fact, it's pretty awesome.

The romantic comedy about loser Chiang Mai schoolboys who form a rock band succeeds as it celebrates the underdog spirit in framing an enjoyable and entertaining portrait of failed romance, faulty friendships and shaky musicianship.

Chayanop Boonprakob directs, reviving a concept he first explored as an indie filmmaker making a comical mockumentary about a crappy band that was shown a few years back at the Thai Short Film & Video Festival. He subsequently took a job as a flight attendant for Thai Airways, but landed at film studio GTH when producer Jira Maligool came calling.

The story of SuckSeed Huay Khan Thep (SuckSeed ห่วยขั้นเทพ) traffics in the same nostalgic sentimentalism about childhood as the 2003 GTH hit Fan Chan, and indeed Chayanop has acknowledged it as a major influence.

The movie begins with a long flashback to early boyhood for the main character Ped, a shy kid who is reluctant to get up and sing in school and afraid to reveal his true feelings for the bubbly, popular and talented girl Ern. He does work up the courage to ask Ern for help in singing a Loso song. She loans him a cassette tape and then almost off-handedly notes that she's moving away that weekend.

Ped then uses a borrowed, out-of-tune guitar to wail his own version of the Loso song and tack it onto the end of the tape but botches trying to return it to Ern. He then tells a fib that causes confusion and problems later in life.

Flash forward to their teenage years, Ped (Jirayu La-ongmanee) is hanging out with his long-time buddy Koong (scene-stealing force of nature Patchara Jirathiwat). Koong has always lived in the shadow of his more-talented and popular twin brother Kay, and Kay plays lead guitar in a slick, polished rock band called The Arena.

Partly to try and upstage Kay but mainly to attract girls, the lovable goofball Koong decides he's going to form a band. And Ped, to his astonishment, will of course play bass. The drummer Ex (Thawat Pornrattanaprasert) is chosen for his rhythmic abilities on the basketball court. However the band Koong and Friends is nearly derailed when Ex promptly and painfully breaks his arm attempting a stunt dunk shot.

With the drummer's arm in a cast, they play their first gig anyway, at a children's art fair. With their loud brand of sloppy, blood-spurting pop-punk, pumping out a cover of Moderndog's first hit "Busaba", the power trio only succeeds in scaring the screaming children to tears, but they do gain one fan – Ern, who has returned to Chiang Mai for her senior year in high school.

She likes the heartwarmingly gutsy attitude of Koong and Friends and joins up on guitar.

Ern is played by newcomer actress Natcha Nualjam, daughter of veteran Thai blues axeman Laem Morrison. Shredding comes naturally for her as she blows the boys away with her fiery musicianship and easy charm.

The situation is difficult for Ped, because he still harbors feelings for Ern, and now Koong is in love with her too.

So it's a battle between bandmates over the girl. And it's a battle between bands when Ern jumps ship over to The Arena. Koong and Friends, later dubbed SuckSeed in an animated sequence ripped from the ballpoint-inked pages of a schoolboy's notebook, eventually face The Arena in a music contest in Bangkok.

There's excitment as the SuckSeed boys work on their chops and prepare for the big show, but ultimately the conflict between friends boils over and severely affects the band's performance.

Will Ped and Koong reconcile? What about Ern?

Aside from the music that's actually performed by the actors, SuckSeed is propelled by appearances from top Thai rock and pop acts in stylish music-video vignettes that bolster the story and underscore the emotional moments for the characters.

Pod, the lead singer of Moderndog, serenades young Ped with the song "... Before" ("...ก่อน "), a ballad that was memorably used as a motif in Wisit Sasanatieng's Citizen Dog.

Pu Blackhead turns up in a hilarious music video shot in a market and is complete with slow-motion and freeze moments of the market vendors and Pu mugging for the camera. Blackhead was at its height 10 years ago, but is not quite popular now, so Pu's appearance was a blast from the past.

Other musicians turning up are falsetto-voiced singer Dak from Big Ass, making a leap from a bridge, as well as the frontmen from the bands Paradox and So Cool. Actor-musician "Pe" Arak Amornsupasiri even turns up in a brief shot that had the audience shouting in surprised recognition.

And the rock band Bodyslam, the reigning music act in Thailand at the moment, plays an integral part, with the SuckSeed boys breaking into Bodyslam's music-video session and prompting the anger of cameoing director Ruetaiwan Wongsirasawad. Later, the band's singer and Pepsi pitchman Toon helps to convey a talismanic "pick of destiny" to struggling guitarist Koong.

Oh, and thumbs up for the English subtitles on the Thai theatrical prints – they are clear and do not resort dumbed-down "dubtitles" to get across references to Thai culture. When it's explained there are only two kinds of music in Thailand – Grammy and RS – there are parenthesis to note that they are the country's two biggest record labels.

Related posts:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

HKIFF 2011: Apichatpong and Lee in Concrete Clouds

Award-winning indie film editor Lee Chatametikool's debut directorial feature, a drama set during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, was talked up on the sidelines of the Asian Film Awards at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

Previously known as Past Love, it's now called Concrete Clouds, according to press reports, including a small blurb in the print edition of today's Bangkok Post (but not in Kong Rithdee's web report of the AFA ceremony).

The stories make official what filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul has been talking about for nearly a year – that he intends to produce Lee's film.

He tells Film Business Asia:

"It's my new adventure that I want to start producing. I love having freedom, my producer gives me a lot of freedom, and so I want to support new generation of filmmakers by giving them this freedom to create a new style of filmmaking."

Apichatpong's Kick the Machine shingle will appear alongside fellow Thai indie director Anocha Suwichakornpong and her Electric Eel Films as well as indie producer Soros Sukhum, who's been behind such movies as Aditya Assarat's Wonderful Town and Sivaroj Kongsakul's Eternity (Tee Rak). Hong Kong-based Far Sun Films and actress-filmmaker Sylvia Chang is also aboard as producer.

Budgeted at $530,000, the production is a major sign of support from Thai indie directors for their long-time collaborator. Lee has edited Apichatpong's features since 2003's Blissfully Yours. His many editing credits also include Wonderful Town and he worked closely with Anocha in shaping the non-linear sequencing of her debut feature Mundane History.

Concrete Clouds will star Ananda Everingham. Screen Daily says the cast will also include Jen Suda.

The story is set in Bangkok during the financial crisis of 1997, where two couples are drawn together by a suicide. “There will be a comparison between the growth of the country and how the main characters grow,” Lee told Screen Daily.

The title is an allusion to the empty office buildings that greeted Lee's return to Thailand after schooling in the U.S. following the '97 crisis, he told Film Business Asia.

Shooting is set to start in September with the release planned for sometime around the middle of next year.

The project (PDF) was previously presented at last year's Hong Kong Asian Film Financing Forum and it also received support from the International Film Festival Rotterdam's Hubert Bals Fund.

Updates: Lee's project has also been supported by the Swiss fund, Visions Sud Est. And Film Business Asia has additional comments from Apichatpong on other topics, including Thai politics and policies.

Jeeja does comedy in Jakkalan

In addition to Chocolate 2 and her supporting role in the Thai-South Korean co-production The Kick, Jeeja Yanin has another movie coming out soon.

The Chocolate and Raging Phoenix star looks pretty capable at combining kicks with comedy in Jakkalan (จั๊กกะแหล๋น). Riding a trendy fixed-gear bicycle, she's aiming the business end of her high-top tennis shoes at a bunch of bad guys in the crime farce, which is directed by and also starring Jeeja's The Kick castmate Petthai "Mum Jokmok" Wongkumlao. It's produced under Mum's Bang Fai Productions. The cast is rounded out by the usual faces in Thai comedies, including Kom Chuanchuen, "Tukky" Sudarat Butrprom and Teng Terdterng as well as Mum's Yam Yasothon co-star Janet Kiew.
The trailer is playing in Thai cinemas now, and it's scheduled for release on April 28.

Update: Twitch as a look at the promo reel for The Kick.

(Via Major Cineplex)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

HKIFF 2011: Uncle Boonmee wins Best Film at AFA, Quattro reviewed

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Cannes Palme d'Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives added an Asian Film Award to its accolades, winning Best Film at the fifth edition of the AFAs on Monday night in Hong Kong.

Uncle Boonmee was nominated for just Best Film and it was the only Thai film nominated.

Apichatpong was present at the ceremony with the film's editor, Lee Chatametikool.

Other AFA winners included best director and screenplay for South Korea's Lee Chang-dong for Poetry. The Chinese blockbuster Aftershock also won two awards, best actress for Xu Fan and best visual effects. Best actor went to Ha Jung-woo for South Korea's The Yellow Sea.

The AFAs are part of the Hong Kong International Film Festival, which got under way on Sunday night with two opening films, Don't Go Breaking My Heart, a romance against the backdrop of the Asian financial crisis by Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai, and Quattro Hong Kong 2, a pan-Asian anthology of Hong Kong-set shorts by Apichatpong, Brillante Mendoza, Ho Yu-hang and Stanley Kwan.

There's already a couple of reviews of Quattro Hong Kong 2, which includes Apichatpong's segment, M Hotel.

Here's Mark Adams in Screen Daily:

Cannes winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s film M Hotel is – unsurprisingly – a more mannered and artistic piece as he films two men in a newly built hotel called the M Hotel as they photograph each other and gaze out of the window, all set against a muffled soundtrack recorded in the park next to the hotel.

And Lee Hyo-won in the Korea Times:

Apichatpong Weerasethakul brings a highly experimental work, M Hotel. In a way, nothing much happens — two young men goof around with a camera in a room with window that looks down at a plaza. Yet the Thai cineaste who won the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year creates some of the most intensive sound designs that keep viewers on the edge of their seats, as muffled noises suggest there are terrifying criminal activities in the making.

The HKIFF, running until April 5, also has Sivaroj Kongsakul's Eternity (Tee Rak), the prize-winner from the recent Deauville fest, and Aditya Assarat's Hi-So.

And Sivaroj, Phuttipong Aroongpheng and Nithiwat Tharatorn have projects in the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum. HAF wraps up tomorrow.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Simon Kook, action star, in Siam Fighter

Similar to when a crop of copycats and lookalikes arose after the untimely death of Bruce Lee, there are stuntmen and fighters being positioned to assume the mantle of Thailand's Tony Jaa, who has been out of the picture since taking vows as a Buddhist monk.

Among this new crop of action stars is Simon Kook, recently seen in The Microchip, which with all the shaky cam and slapstick comedy wasn't really much of a showcase for what the former stand-in for Tony Jaa and Johnny Tri Nguyen can do.

A better display of Kook's talents are in the short historical action drama Siam Fighter, which is online and embedded below.

(Via Asian Movie Pulse, Kung Fu Cinema)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bangkok Knockout at ActionFest

B.K.O.: Bangkok Knockout (โคตรสู้ โคตรโส, Koht Soo Koht Soh), the latest stunt extravaganza by action guru Panna Rittikrai, makes its international premiere in the second annual ActionFest, running April 7 to 10 in Asheville, North Carolina.

You can watch highlights in the festival's trailer, embedded below.

Capsule reviews: Teng Nong Jiwon Bin, Panya Reanu, The Microchip

Teng Nong Jiwon Bin (เท่งโหน่ง จีวรบิน) – This airborne action comedy spends more time on the ground and the two comedians who star in it don't actually share much screen time together. Pongsak Pongsuwan, a.k.a Teng Terdterng, who co-directs with Smith Timsawat, is a Thai monk on a Buddhist pilgrimage to Tibet. He gets a ride back to Thailand in the antique cargo plane – a C-123 military transport like was used in Con Air – owned by the gregarious tycoon Boss Nong (Choosak Iamsuk). There's a parade of cameos, including "Tukky" Sudarat Butrprom as a stewardess and Petthai "Mum Jokmok" Wongkumlao as a "Russian" pilot. Even Workpoint producer Panya Nirunkul puts in an appearance as a Chinese TV news announcer. "Tao" Somchai Kemklad hijacks the plane and Boss Nong parachutes to safety and for the most part out of the picture. He has some amusing bits in mobile-phone video clips. Once on the ground, the movie settles into a rather dull rhythm of Teng making morning alms rounds and dispensing wisdom while the drug lord played by Somlek Sakdikul tries to open Boss Nong's safe. The film takes flight again with cartoonish CGI. Monk Teng uses his saffron robes to abseil outside the plane. A talismanic item keeps the aircraft aloft. He refuses help from Boss Nong's secretary ("Mo" Amina Phinit) to get back into the plane – he would rather sacrifice his life than sully his monk's vows by touching a female. But, when the time comes to save everyone's lives on the plane, he has to get in the pilot's seat and move the heavenly levers and push the exhalted buttons. (3/5)

Panya Reanu (ปัญญา เรณู) – Bin Banluerit directs this sentimental, sweet and musically lively childhood romantic comedy set in a poor Isaan village. The center of the story is the childhood friendship and puppy-love triangle that develops while the schoolchildren are working to participate in a ponglang music contest. However, the community is so impoverished they can't afford the sorely needed new instruments. The star singer is a boy named Panya who is paired up, for life it seems, with the chubby loudmouthed girl Reanu. The school gets a boost from a visit by Bangkok schoolgirls and one young ladyboy on their broken-down bus. While Panya makes sweet with one of the Bangkok girls, the little ladyboy recruits his dancer friends to beef up the tiny village's music act. There's also amusing episodes that have all the village's men dressing as women to ward off a curse. Panya has a leech lodged in an uncomfortable place. The Wongkumlao clan and comedy-troupe cohorts from Mum Jokmok's Yam Yasothon movies fill out the cast in this Isaan-powered picture. (3/5)

The Microchip (ชิป /หาย, Chip/Hai) – Power Kids helmer Krissanapong Rachata directs this action comedy about a Chinese restaurant's waiter named John (Akarin Akaranitimetharat) who happens upon a dangerous video clip stored on a micro SD card. A killer cop (purported Tony Jaa replacement Simon Kook) aims to get the MacGuffin back and makes life difficult for John and his friends, who are a motley band of con artists and grifters. Among the major flaws in the meandering story is the ridiculous notion that the video clip only exists on this SD card and hasn't been copied onto someone's hard drive or uploaded to YouTube. The movie is mainly slapstick comedy, aided by members of the Wongkumlao clan. What few fight scenes exist are filmed close-in with a blurry, shaky camera, so it's hard to get a sense of how good this Simon Kook is. The hero John is weak and is no martial artist. While he cowers or runs away, his transvestite hooker friend puts up the most convincing fight. (2/5)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Each Moment is the Universe in Tribeca competition

There's a Thai film in competition at this year's Tribeca Film Festival: Each Moment is the Universe, in which "a boy is reborn with memories of his previous lives and tries to fix the mistakes of the past."

Part of the student shorts competition and screening in the Exit Strategies program, it's directed by Bruce Thierry Cheung, an MFA film student at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Film Business Asia has a look at some of the other Asian films in the fest.

The Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 20 to May 1 in New York City.

(Via Broadway World)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

GTH rocks out with romance in SuckSeed

Given the success of teen-oriented romances at the Thai box office right now, the new GTH romantic comedy SuckSeed Huay Khan Thep (SuckSeed ห่วยขั้นเทพ) looks poised to be one of this year's blockbusters.

Opening on Thursday, it's the story of schoolboys who form a band to impress girls, but things get complicated when a girl joins up on guitar.

Chayanop Boonprakob directs. The indie filmmaker made at least a couple of SuckSeed shorts about struggling young rock bands that were shown at the Thai Short Film & Video Festival in recent years. Chayanop subsequently took a job as a flight attendant for Thai Airways International, but returned to filmmaking when producer Jira Maligool came calling and wanting to develop a SuckSeed feature.

The original SuckSeed shorts were already pretty clever and amusing. GTH polishes up the concept with its slick formula, which brings in appealing young stars and, thanks to parent company GMM Grammy Entertainment's showbiz clout, appearances by actual Thai rock musicians. Of course there's a huge marketing campaign for the film, ensuring that just about anyone who lives in Thailand has heard or seen something about it.

The three buddies are portrayed by Jirayu La-ongmanee (Phobia 2, Love Julinsee), Patchara Jirathiwat and Thawat Pornrattanaprasert. And they all play their own instruments.

The girl guitarist who joins the band is Natcha Nualjam. She's the daughter of veteran Thai rock guitarist Laem Morrison, so axe-shredding comes naturally for her.

Well-known Thai musicians making cameos include singer Pod from Moderndog, Pui Blackhead, Dak from Big Ass, as well as members of Paradox and So Cool and even Bodyslam and its Pepsi pitchman singer Toon.

You can read more about the movie at The Nation.

The trailer's been playing in cinemas for many weeks now. If you haven't seen it yet, head over to YouTube, the official website or watch it here.

Eternity (Tee Rak) wins top prize in Deauville

Indie director Sivaroj Kongsakul won the top prize at this past weekend's Deauville Asian Film Festival for his debut feature Eternity (ที่รัก, Tee Rak), a heartfelt romantic drama that's dedicated to the spirit of his father.

Eternity – not to be confused with that other award-winning Eternity – was awarded the festival's Lotus du Meilleur Film by a jury headed by Amos Gitaï.

"Karn" Sivaroj's movie previously competed at last year's Pusan International Film Festival, opened the 8th World Film Festival of Bangkok and won the Tiger Award at the recent International Film Festival Rotterdam. It's also screening at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, starting this week.

Tony Jaa's Ong-Bak 3 was in the Action Asia competition, but was knocked out of the running for the Lotus prize by Yuen Woo-ping's True Legend.

Film Business Asia has more on the awards.

(Photo via

Two awards for Guan Muen Ho in Osaka

GTH's hit 2010 romantic comedy Guan Muen Ho (กวน มึน โฮ, Hello Stranger) won two awards at the fifth Osaka Asian Film Festival, which wrapped up on Sunday.

Director Banjong Pisanthanakun won the Most Promising Talent Award and Guan Muen Ho also won the ABC Award from sponsor Asahi Broadcasting Corporation, which will buy the movie's TV rights.

Banjong, half of the duo that made the hit horror thrillers Shutter and Alone, traveled to the Osaka fest with Hello Stranger male lead and co-writer Chantavit Dhanasevi.

The festival's Grand Prize went to the Hong Kong film Lover's Discourse by Derek Tsang and Jimmy Wan.

Film Business Asia has the rest of the awards and a photo from the prize ceremony.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nang Nak at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

The 29th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival got under way last Thursday.

There's only one Thai film in the line-up this year, and it's a classic: 1999's Nang Nak, a lush reworking of the famous old Bangkok ghost story by director Nonzee Nimibutr with a script by Wisit Sasanatieng.

Inthira Charoenpura stars as Mae Nak of Phra Khanong, who died giving birth to a stillborn boy while her husband Mak (Winai Kraibutr) was away fighting a war. He comes back and doesn't realize she has died.

It's part of a program called After Death: Horror Cinema from South East Asia, which also features Afflication by Richard Somes from the Philippines and Malaysian indie director Jame Lee's first Malay film (and his first stab at commercial cinema), Histeria.

The fest also had the Vietnamese action drama Clash, starring Veronica Ngo and Johnny Tri Nguyen. It only screened once over the weekend at the Castro, so if you missed it, too bad, because it's worth seeing on the big screen.

Nang Nak already screened once over the weekend, but there's another showing on Thursday at the Pacific Film Archive.

Later this year, the "Mae Nak" story will get its umpteenth cinematic telling in a 3D version by Bangkok Inter Group Film that stars "Tak" Bongkote Kongmalai.

I have a feeling that Nonzee's Nang Nak will remain the definitive contemporary version of the tale for many more years to come.

The SFIAAFF runs until March 20.

Boonmee, Malady and Thai Film Week in D.C.

The U.S. capital gets a huge dose of Thai cinema over the next couple of weeks in two events.

The Environmental Film Festival hosts the District of Columbia premiere of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Cannes Palme d'Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives as well as Apichatpong's 2004 Cannes Jury Prize-winner Tropical Malady.

Both screenings are in the AFI Silver Theatre. The Environmental Film Festival runs from March 15 to 27.

Meanwhile, the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington is having Thai Film Week over the course of two weekends, showing several recent classics as well as a fistful of Thai action movies.

Wisit Sasanatieng's mind-blowing western Tears of the Black Tiger opens the series this Friday.

Saturday afternoon has Pantham Thongsang's 2004 social comedy-drama Ai Fak, a.k.a. The Judgement, with a screenplay by Somkiet Vituranich based on the SEA Write Award-winning novel by Chart Korbjitti.

Chookiat Sakveerakul's tender gay teenage romance Love of Siam screens on Saturday night.

The following weekend, March 25 and 26, is a showcase of action choreography from Panna Rittikrai and his team with Thanakorn Pongsuwan's karmic fantasy Demon Warriors (Opapatika), Chalerm Wongpim's buffalo-rustling western Dynamite Warrior with Dan Choopong and Tony Jaa's magnum opus Ong-Bak 2.

The Washington Post has more details.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Poj Arnon makes a movie out of the abortion scandal

Opportunistic showman Poj Arnon seizes upon last November's aborted fetuses scandal for his latest ripped-from-the-headlines movie, Dek Phee Du 2002 Sop (เด็กผีดุ 2002 ศพ, 2002: The Unborn Child.

The scandal erupted at the discovery of illegally aborted fetuses at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok. First a few hundred were found, but the number grew to more than 2,000. Undertakers had stored the fetuses there for cremation, but the temple's crematorium broke down, and the resulting stench had neighbors complaining.

Rescue teams pulled the fetuses out of the numbered compartments at the temple, bagged them up and laid them out on the ground for newspaper photographers and TV cameramen to capture. The sea of little corpses made for compelling photos. Similar images are used in Poj's movie.

The discovery of the fetuses resulted in a crackdown on illegal abortion clinics and gave rise to much discussion about Thailand's abortion laws.

On what side of the issue does Dek Phee Du 2002 Sop stand? Like most Thai horror movies, I supposed it comes down to karma.

Somchai Kemklad stars in the movie. He plays a crime reporter, married to a high-school teacher, portrayed by "May" Pitchanart Sakakorn. The happy couple have a young daughter, and the little girl starts seeing ghostly little playmates, which are apparently tied to an abortion had by one of the teacher's students. Soon their lives become a living hell.

See what it's all about in the trailer, embedded below. Dek Phee Du 2002 Sop is in Thai cinemas on Thursday.

Insects director goes commercial with Hak Na Sarakham

Transvestite indie filmmaker Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, director of the banned social drama Insects in the Backyard, goes commercial with her latest effort, Hak Na Sarakham (ฮักนะ 'สารคาม).

Produced by Sahamongkol Film International, it's a sunny comedy about the love lives of youngsters in Maha Sarakham, a predominantly rural province in the culturally distinct region of Thailand's northeast known as Isaan. The result is a countryside ode that might perhaps recall the classic 1970 romance Monrak Lukthung.

Tanwarin talked a bit about the movie in an interview with BK magazine:

"My identity won’t change if I do a big studio movie, like Hak Na Sarakham. I will do the movie that both the studio and I want. I won’t take their money and just what do I want, like some directors. That’s disgusting. I can do what I like in my self-funded movies."

The Bangkok Post's Kong Rithdee also talked to Tanwarin and has an article today that places Hak Na Sarakham the canon of Isaan-dialect cinema that also includes the still-shoing Panya Reanu as well as older movies like Yam Yasothon, Dynamite Warrior and the classic Luk Isaan (Son of the Northeast).

Impish comedienne "Tukky" Sudarat Butrprom stars, playing the upperclassman mentor to some of the schoolkids who in reality are perhaps nearly half her age.

Check the trailer, embedded below. Hak Na Sarakham is in Thai cinemas on Thursday.

Namtan Daeng to show uncut

The full version of Namtan Daeng (น้ำตาลแดง, a.k.a. Brown Sugar), the anthology of erotic short films released in two parts last year by Sahamongkol Film International, gets a limited run this week at House cinema on Bangkok's Royal City Avenue.

This "uncut" version runs for 2 hours and 40 minutes.

There were six segments of Brown Sugar by indie directors Panumat Deesatta, Zart Tancharoen, Kittiyaporn Klangsurin, Prachya Lampongchat, Surawat Chuphol, Anurak Janlongsilp and produced by Prachya Pinkaew and Bandit Thongdee. For the commercial release, they were split in half, with the first three in cinemas last September, and the second helping in November.

The first batch had the much-talked-about masturbation scene by Lakkana Wattanawongsiri, playing a massage girl who has the hots for a tattoo artist. She later goes to get a tattoo on her pelvic region.

The original theatrical releases were rated 18+. I am not certain at this time what the "uncut" version is rated.

House RCA's Facebook page says Brown Sugar will run for just one week, from March 10 to 16. It has the Thai soundtrack only – no English subtitles.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Eternity, Ong-Bak 3 in competition in Deauville

Sivaroj Kongsakul's Tiger Award-winning Eternity (Tee Rak) is back on the trail to the Deauville Asian Film Festival, where its in the main competition.

The indie Eternity can also be caught in Hong Kong.

And the Action Asia competition has Tony Jaa's swansong Ong-Bak 3: The Final Battle. The historical martial-arts drama was released earlier this year in the U.S.

The 10-film main competition field also has Birth Right, Buddha Mountain, Cold Fish, Donor, Norwegian Wood, Sketches of Kaitan City, The Journals of Musan, The Old Donkey and Udaan.

Action Asia has five films in all, the others being Blades of Blood, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, True Legend and Wind Blast.

The fest also has retrospectives on South Korean directors Kim Jee-woon and Hong Sang-soo.

The Deauville Asian Film Festival runs from March 9 to 13.

(Via Variety, Film Business Asia)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Subhannahongsa Awards 2011: Chua Fah Din Salai, Agrarian Utopia the top winners

The steamy period romance Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity) was the biggest winner at the National Federation of Film Associations of Thailand's Suphannahongsa Awards (รางวัลภาพยนตร์แห่งชาติ สุพรรณหงส์) on Sunday at SFX Cinemas at Central Festival Pattaya.

Director ML Bhandevanop Devakul's lush romantic thriller won five awards, including Best Picture for Sahamongkol Film International. Leading man Ananda Everingham, also nominated for The Red Eagle, took best actor. Chua Fah Din Salai also won for costume design, art direction and film editing.

Chua Fah Din Salai was the top nominee and had generally been favored to win most of the hardware in the industry-leaning awards, but there were a few surprises.

Indie filmmaker Uruphong Raksasad took the prizes for director and cinematography for Agrarian Utopia, a vividly lensed documentary on the hardships of a pair of rice-farming families.

And the best actress prize went to newcomer leading lady Neungtida Sophon from the GTH romantic comedy Guan Muen Ho (Hello Stranger). She broke into tears during the ceremony.

Supporting actor and actress Sa-ad Piampongsan and Inthira Charoeonpura from the Buddhist crime thriller Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga) completed their sweep of the awards season, winning the top industry awards.

Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good), the road-trip romance from upstart studio M-Thirtynine took the best screenplay prize for director "Leo" Kittikorn Liawsirikul as well as best song.

Another top nominee was Wisit Sasanatieng's gritty and violent superhero thriller Insee Dang (The Red Eagle), and it won for visual effects.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives was oddly cut out of the running for best picture, director and screenplay prizes – the Cannes Palme d'Or winner had picked up top honors from other Thai film awards – but it did win for sound recording.

The 20th annual awards were held under the theme of "Thai Films ... The Leader of Creative Economy".

Honorary awards were given to veteran studio executives Somsak "Sia Jiang" Techarattanaprasert of Sahamongkol Film and Charoen Iamphungporn of Five Star Production (neither of whom showed up).

Here's the list of winners:

  • Visual effects: Kantana Animation, Insee Dang (The Red Eagle)
  • Make up: 9 Wat
  • Costume Design: Noppadon Techo, Totrit Samipak, Rapan Chancharoen, Chua Fah Din SalaiEternity)
  • Art direction: Siranat Ratchusanti, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Score: Paphassilp Keetawongwat, Samurai of Ayodhya
  • Best song: "เรา สอง สาม คน" by Banana Boat, Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good)
  • Sound recording: Chalermrat Kaweewattana, Akritchalerm Kalayanamitr, Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives)
  • Film editing: Sunij Asavinikul, Phannipha Kabillikavanich, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Cinematography: Uruphong Raksasad, Sawan Baan Na (Agrarian Utopia)
  • Screenplay: "Leo" Kittikorn Liawsirikul, Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good)
  • Supporting actress: Inthira Charoeonpura, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga)
  • Supporting actor: Sa-ad Piampongsan, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga)
  • Actress: Neungtida Sophon, Guan Muen Ho (Hello Stranger)
  • Actor: Ananda Everingham, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Director: Uruphong Raksasad, Sawan Baan Na (Agrarian Utopia)
  • Best Pictured: Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity), Sahamongkol Film International

(Via Manager, Nation Channel)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Subhannahongsa Awards 2011: The Best Song nominees

With the National Federation of Film Associations of Thailand's Subhannahongsa Awards coming up on Sunday, I thought it'd be fun to put together a YouTube playlist of the nominees for Best Song.

So that's what I've done. The songs are:

  • “ยินดี ที่ไม่รู้จัก ” ปิยวัฒน์ 25 Hours, Guan Muen Ho (Hello Stranger
  • “เธอ GET ก็ OK” สร่าง ทุกข์, Sudkate Salateped
  • "เรา สอง สาม คน", Banana Boat, Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good)
  • “ถ้า สัก วัน เธอ จะ กล้า พอ ”, Wednesday Child, Yes or No, Yak Rak Kor Rak Loei (Yes or No, So I Love You)
  • “สิ่ง เล็ก เล็ก ที่ เรียกว่า รัก ”, พานิชวิทย์, Sing Lek Lek Thee Riak Wa … Ruk (First Love)

The playlist is embedded below.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Apichatpong-a-rama: Primitive in Mexico and New York, Boonmee in Japan and New York

Primitive, Apichatpong's seven-channel video installation that's the umbrella for his feature Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, is getting more exposure.

It's going on right now in Mexico City at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) until June 5. The exhibition is part of Ficunam film fest, which ran from February 24 to March 3, and mounted a massive retrospective on Apichatpong, showing his shorts and features.

Apichatpong himself has been in Mexico City, overseeing the installation of the exhibition. He took time out from that work to do a Q&A chat with Dustin Chang, which ran over at Twitch. He talks about Uncle Boonmee and his upcoming Mekong Motel, which he describes as a short film of about 60 to 70 minutes that will be part of a larger art project about the river and how dams on are affecting the livelihoods of people in the region.

He also mentions the Chris Ware poster for Boonmee's U.S. release, and says he asked distributor Strand Releasing for a graphic-arts poster/DVD cover and Ware was the "first artist who popped into my head."

Primitive next comes to New York's New Museum, where it'll run from May 19 to July 3.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, meanwhile, is opening in New York and in Japan. The U.S. trailer, here earlier, is at Apple.

Some reviews and articles:

  • David Edelstein reviews Uncle Boonmee for New York Magazine, advising viewers to "adjust your biorhythms accordingly."
  • The Japan Times has a review of Boonmee Ojisan no Mori (ブンミおじさんの森).
  • Time Out New York has an interview. Apichatpong talks about his "free take" style of filmmaking, "where I tell the actors and the cinematographer, 'Do whatever you want, go for it.' I usually end up using those accidental takes a lot; a number of those are in Uncle Boonmee as well."
  • Village Voice has an interview too, which mentions Apichatpong's early influences "beyond Spielberg and other recommended imports like Bonnie and Clyde, beyond hip B-horror movies like Evil Dead, beyond Thai films, he searched through bins in Bangkok for videos, most of them now long forgotten, that spoke to his developing sensibility. 'Give me something different.'"
  • Awards Daily includes Apichatpong among "50 they forgot" as an answer to Entertainment Weekly's "25 greatest working directors".
  • There's one of many academic views: Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Case Study of an International Asian Filmmaker.
  • The Oscars are over and done with for another year, and even though Uncle Boonmee didn't make the short list for Best Foreign Language Film, pundits were still talking about it. Like Steven Zeitchik, at the Los Angeles Times. And The New York Times' A.O. Scott says:

"In a very different key, marching to the beat of its own peculiar drum, is Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives from Thailand, last year’s surprising and somewhat controversial Palme d'Or winner at Cannes last year. Its director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, is unlikely to hear his name mentioned at any future Oscar broadcast, and not only because it will be hard to find a presenter to pronounce it correctly. His films are oblique and lyrical, unfolding in a world composed equally of animism, modernism and Mr. Weerasethakul’s idiosyncratic aesthetic sense. I’m not sure that either of these is the best film of the year, but it gives me pleasure to imagine an alternative universe in which the Academy would recognize their virtues, and put them in the same bracket as the usual Hollywood and indie products."

In Thailand, Uncle Boonmee has won recognition from the Starpics Awards and the Bangkok Critics Assembly, but is oddly shut out of the top honors in the main industry kudos, the Suphannahongsa Awards.

Oh, in case you missed it, there's a trailer for Quattro Hong Kong 2, a Pan-Asian shorts compilation which includes Apichaptpong's M Hotel. It premieres as on of the openers of the Hong Kong International Film Festival on March 20.

Guan Muen Ho in competition in Osaka

GTH's hit 2010 romantic comedy Guan Muen Ho (กวน มึน โฮ, Hello Stranger) travels to the fifth Osaka Asian Film Festival, where it'll make its international premiere among a 10-film competition field.

Director Banjong Pisanthanakun and star and co-writer Chantavit Dhanasevi will be there for a Q&A after the screening on March 12.

The movie, which raked in 130 million baht last year, capitalized on the popularity of Korean pop culture with a story about two Thai strangers who meet while travelling in South Korea. Guan Muen Ho has been sensation this awards season in Thailand, most recently picking up nine nominations for this Sunday's Suphannahongsa Awards. It also picked up a runner-up prize from the Thai Film Director Association Awards, and prizes for newcomer lead actress Nuengtida Sophon from the Bangkok Critics Assembly Awards and the Starpics Awards.

Film Business Asia has the rundown of the Osaka fest, which runs from March 5 to 13.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Appropriate teenage romance in Love Julinsee

M-Thirtynine's upcoming teenage romance Love Julinsee Rak Man Yai Mak (เลิฟ จุลินทรีย์ รักมันใหญ่มาก) caused a stir a few months back when the teaser clip was banned by censors who deemed it unsuitable because it showed almost-kissing youngsters in school uniforms.

The lustful, love-drunk glances the kids were giving each other probably also unsettled some cultural minders, who after seeing it perhaps needed to spend some time in their bunks. Others were probably crying their eyes out it was so gosh darn sad.

The offending teaser has since been removed from M-Thirtynine's official YouTube channel, but you can probably find it around if you spend a second or two looking.

I guess the message to kids is: Take off your school uniforms and then make out.

The new trailer's been out for a few weeks now. Cleansed of any inappropriate images, it has almost no kissing and plays up the M-Thirtynine-style of choppily edited comic quips. It's still pretty syrupy, so be forewarned if such melodramatic romance makes you sick to your stomach. I know I needed to hurl after watching it. The clip is embedded below.

Directed by Chainarong Tampong and Sakol Tiachareon, the ensemble romance is four stories against the backdrop of the show by costumed rock band Paradox at last year's Big Mountain Music Festival.

One story has the girl Nao (Tisanat Sornsuek) and the guy Yoh (Alex Rendell) waiting for each other to say "I love you". Musician Pla (Irada Siriwut) goes to the concert to forget her playboy ex-boyfriends. Fon (Apinya Sakuljaroensuk) looks back at the cute romance she had in school with an underclassman (Nuttapong Piboonthanakiet), which included sharing shredded fish snacks. Yok (Jirayu La-Ongmanee) and Eue (Monchanok Saengchaipiangpen) are lifelong best friends who've taken things to the next level of being boyfriend and girlfriend.

Love Julinsee Rak Man Yai Mak is due in cinemas on Thursday.

Chua Fah Din Salai, Nak Prok among top nominees for Subhannahongsa Awards

The period romance Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity) is the leading nominee for the 20th Subhannahongsa Awards, with 14 nods in the 16 categories.

Other leading nominees in the National Federation of Film Associations of Thailand's kudosfest are the crime thriller Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga) with 12 nods, the road-trip romance Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good) with nine nominations, the travel romance Guan Muen Ho (Hello Stranger) with eight and the superhero action drama Insee Dang (The Red Eagle) with six.

Chua Fah Din Salai, directed by ML Bhandevanop Devakul and produced by Sahamongkol Film International, is up for Best Picture as well as honors for director and screenplay and actor and actress for stars Ananda Everingham and "Ploy" Chermarn Boonyasak.

Other best-picture nominees are M-Thirtynine's That Sounds Good, GTH's Guan Muen Ho , Sahamongkol's Shadow of the Naga and Extra Virgin's indie documentary Sawan Baan Na (Agrarian Utopia).

Notably omitted from the top categories is Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year and was the Film Federation's official selection to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. It's been winning prizes at other film awards in Thailand this year, but for the Subhannahongsa Awards it's nominated for three awards: Recording and Sound Mixing, Cinematography and Supporting Actress for Jenjira Pongpas.

But while Boonmee is strangely snubbed, the indie documentary Agrarian Utopia is up for four awards. Besides best picture, Uruphong Raksasad's film is nominated for Best Director, cinematography and editing.

The nominations were announced on Thursday, February 24, in a press conference at Central Festival Pattaya Beach. The awards ceremony, popularly regarded to as the "Thai Oscars", will be held on March 6 at the beach-resort shopping mall's SFX Cinema. The event starts at 4pm and will be broadcast on Royal Thai Army television Channel 7.

FNFAT president Jareuk Kaljareuk is quoted in a press release as saying the theme of the ceremony is "Thai Films ... The Leader of Creative Economy."

"Film business is considered as creative economy. Our concept is to focus on skills, and special skills of people merge with culture, economics and technology as creative industry. It's the reason we select Pattaya city to be the location of this great event. Pattaya is one of the most important cities in term of business, and also one of the most favorite cities for foreigners who come to Thailand. This would be a great opportunity to present the potential of Thai movies to international community."

In addition, Subhannahongsa Honour Awards will be given to producer Charoen Iamphungporn of Five Star Production and producer Somsak Techaratanaprasert of Sahamongkol Film International. "They both have dedicated themselves to Thai film industry always. All people in Thai film business respect their masterpiece of works," the press release continues.

Sorajak Kasemsuvan, Secretary-General of The National Federation of Thai Film Associations said: "We all will have a great pride of our Subhannahongsa awards ceremony this year which we'll do our best to make this event great and successful as international level."

Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunpluem says:

"As we are a landlord, we're glad and honored to welcome the National Federation of Film Associations of Thailand, and we're delighted to be a part of the 20th Subhannahongsa Awards ceremony. This is also a great opportunity to present Pattaya City along with such great event to Thai people, foreigners and to the world that Pattaya City is capable as more than a tourist spot. We'd like to say thanks to the National Federation of Film Associations of Thailand for this great opportunity. And, we'll welcome and support you all along the 20th Subhannahongsa awards ceremony."

Here's the list of nominees:

Visual Effects

  • Human Farm, 9 Wat
  • Oriental Post and Kantana Animation, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Kantana Animation, Samurai of Ayodhaya
  • Veative Studio, My Best Bodyguard
  • Kantana Animation, Insee Dang (The Red Eagle)

Make Up

  • ธนธัช กิตติคุณาธิป, 9 Wat
  • พิชานนทท์ รัตนกมลกานต์, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • นนทพัฒน์ อมรไชย, Samurai of Ayodhaya
  • สมบัติ พุทธบุตรทินกุล, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga
  • ศิวกร สุขลังการ, อาภรณ์ มีบางยาง, Nam Peen Nong Sayong Kwan

Costume Design

  • Noppadon Techo,Totrit Samipak, Rapan Chancharoen, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Sutee Meuanwaajaa, Guan Muen Ho (Hello Stranger)
  • นิรชรา วรรณาลัย, My Best Bodyguard
  • Chatchai Chaiyon, Ong Bak 3
  • Atchariya Pinitsanpirom, Insee Dang (The Red Eagle)

Art direction

  • Siranat Ratchusanti, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Parinda Moongmaipho, Jao Nok Krajok (Mundane History)
  • Sophon Pulsawat, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga)
  • Banphot Ngamkum, Ong-Bak 3
  • Wittaya Chaimongkol, Phairot Siriwath, Pallop Chomtawor, Insee Daeng (The Red Eagle)


  • Chatchai Pongprapaphan, Krissanasak Kantathamwawong, * Guan Meun Ho (Hello Stranger)
  • Giant Wave, Mongkol Pongwachirin, Prawit Keskasem, Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good)
  • ปภัส ศิลป์, Samurai of Ayodhya
  • Tipdtaiyor Pirom, Bang Rajan 2
  • Ground Music, Sing Lek Lek Thee Riak Wa … Ruk (First Love)

Original Song

  • “ยินดี ที่ไม่รู้จัก ” ปิยวัฒน์ 25 Hours, Guan Muen Ho (Hello Stranger
  • “เธอ GET ก็ OK” สร่าง ทุกข์, Sudkate Salateped
  • "เรา สอง สาม คน", Banana Boat, Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good)
  • “ถ้า สัก วัน เธอ จะ กล้า พอ ”, Wednesday Child, Yes or No, Yak Rak Kor Rak Loei (Yes or No, So I Love You)
  • “สิ่ง เล็ก เล็ก ที่ เรียกว่า รัก ”, พานิชวิทย์, Sing Lek Lek Thee Riak Wa … Ruk (First Love)

Recording and Sound Mixing

  • เอก รัตน์ อัศวจามี กร, Vachira Wongsarod, Kantana Laboratory, Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good)
  • Traithep Wongpaiboon, Nopawat Likitwong, Kantana Laboratory, Chua Fah Din SalaiEternity)
  • Somchai Chansook, Sunij Asavinikul, Sunij Asavinikul, Phannipha Kabillikavanich, ห้อง บันทึกเสียง ราม อินทรา, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga)
  • Chalermrat Kaweewattana, Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives)
  • Traithep Wongpaiboon, Kantana Laboratory, Insee Dang (The Red Eagle)

Film Editing

  • Thammarat Sumetsupachok, Guan Muen Ho (Hello Stranger)
  • Sunij Asavinikul, Phannipha Kabillikavanich, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Tawat Siripon, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga)
  • Uruphong Raksasad, Sawan Baan Na (Agrarian Utopia)
  • Sunit Asvinikul, Phannipha Kabillikavanich, Insee Dang (The Red Eagle)


  • Uruphong Raksasad, Sawan Baan Na (Agrarian Utopia)
  • Thamjaroen Promphan, Somsak Srisawat, Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good)
  • Teerawat Rujintham, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Teerawat Rujintham, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga)
  • Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives)


  • Kittikorn Liawsirikul, Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good)
  • ML Bhandevanop Devakul, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Koses Charittiporn, Nut Nualpang, Phawat Panangkasiri, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga)
  • Nontra Kumwong, Chantavit Dhanasevi, Banjong Pisanthanakun, Guan Muen Ho (Hello Stranger)
  • Rergchai Puangpetch, Sudkate Salateped

Supporting actress

  • Ramita Mahapreukpong, Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good)
  • Daraneenuch Pothipithi, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Inthira Charoenpura, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga)
  • Prangthong Changtham, Namtan Daeng 2 (Brown Sugar 2)
  • Jenjira Pongpas, Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives)

Supporting actor

  • Teerapong Leowrakwong, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Sa-ad Piampongsan, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga)
  • Ray MacDonald, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga)
  • Pitisak Yaowanon, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga)
  • Jaturong Phonboon, Baan Chan ... Talok Wai Gon (Por Son Wai) (The Little Comedian)


  • Siriphun Wattanajinda, 9 Wat
  • Rattanrat Eertaweekul, Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good)
  • Neungtida Sophon, Guan Muen Ho (Hello Stranger)
  • Chermarn Boonyasak, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Pimchanok Luevisetpaibool, Sing Lek Lek Thee Riak Wa … Ruk (First Love)


  • Ananda Everingham, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Somchai Kemglad, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga)
  • Chawin Likitjareonpong, Baan Chan ... Talok Wai Gon (Por Son Wai) (The Little Comedian)
  • Choosak Iamsuk, Meu Peun Dao Pra Sao (Saturday Killer)
  • Ananda Everingham, Insee Dang (The Red Eagle)


  • Sarasawadee Wongsompetch, Yes or No, Yak Rak Kor Rak Loei (Yes or No, So I Love You)
  • Kittikorn Liawsirikul, Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good)
  • Banjong Pisanthanakun, Guan Muen Ho (Hello Stranger)
  • ML Bhandevanop Devakul, Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Uruphong Raksasad, Sawan Baan Na (Agrarian Utopia)

Best Picture

  • M-Thirtynine, Rao Song Sam Khon (That Sounds Good)
  • GTH, Guan Muen Ho (Hello Stranger)
  • Sahamongkol Film International,Chua Fah Din Salai (Eternity)
  • Sahamongkol Film International, Nak Prok (Shadow of the Naga)
  • Extra Virgin, Sawan Baan Na (Agrarian Utopia)