Monday, January 16, 2012

9th WFFBKK: Preview of the Thai films

Postponed from November because of the floods, the 9th World Film Festival of Bangkok starts this week. As always, the festival is an important platform for local premieres of Thai independent films.

There are four features: the opening film I Carried You Home (Padang Besar, ปาดังเบซาร์) by  Tongpong Chatarangkul, Lung Neaw Visits His Neighbours by  Rirkrit Tiravanija, P-047 by Kongej Jaturanrasamee and The Unreasonable Man (Mai Roo Mun Ke Arai Tae Chob, ไม่รู้.มันคืออะไร.แต่ชอ) by Supharat Boonmayam.

The debut feature by Tongpong, I Carried You Home is about estranged sisters brought back together by their mother's death. It's been picked up by a French distributor and was featured in competition at the Marrakech International Film Festival. Update: It's also been selected for the Bright Future program of the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

P-047 and Lung Neaw both made their world premieres at the Venice Film Festival.

P-047 ( Tae Peang Phu Deaw), about a pair of men who break into people's homes to "borrow" their lives, has also been featured at fests in Busan, Dubai and Palm Springs.

Lung Naew is the debut feature by Rirkrit, an internationally known artist. It's a documentary about a 60-year-old rice farmer in rural Chiang Mai.

The Unreasonable Man is a trilogy of short films by Supharat. "Tao" Somchai Kemglad stars as a barber. He's starred in such features as Killer Tattoo and Shadow of the Naga. Indie filmmaker Pramote Sangsorn also stars. The series got its start back in 2009.

As for feature documentaries, there's The Cheer Ambassadors by Luke Cassady-Dorion, about a Thai cheerleading team that went all the way to the World Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Florida, and had great success. My Rohingya, is a look at the Rohingya by Thananuch Sanguansak, a Nation Channel reporter, who become interested in Rohingya after reports by Western media that the Thai navy was stranding the Burmese Muslim refugees at sea.  And there's 500 Years Siam-Portugal’s Relationship by Yuwadee Vatcharangkul, a look at the oldest Thai-European diplomatic relationship.

Sprinkled throughout the Short Wave and Mango film programs are 14 Thai shorts, Amaranth by Lakkana Palawatvichai, An Indiscreet Incident on Yotha Street by Japan-based Kong Pahurak, Coax by  Kevin VivisVisithsiri, Distinction by Tulapop Saenjaroen (a prize-winner at last year's Thai Short Film & Video Festival), Gum Karma by Nuttawat Attasawat, Illumination by Panpilas Pitayanon, Never Say Goodbye by SutthasinTanmanasiri, One Man Can Run by Nuntawut Poophasuk, Passing Through the Night by Wattanapume Laisuwanchai (which premiered at the Venice fest), Photoshop by Sopolnawitch Achira Ponglamjiak, Reminisce, Thawan Duchanee by Siripa Intavichein and Youth by Sutthinan Ampornchatchawan.

The opening film I Carried You Home will be at on January 20 at Paragon Cineplex, but after that all screenings will be at the Esplanade Ratchada. The closing ceremonies on January 27 will be at the Village Square at the Nine Neighbourhood Centre on Rama IX Road, with outdoor screenings of Earthly Paradise from Chile and a collection shorts by Aki Kaurismaki.

Other highlights include Turin Horse by Bela Tarr, who'll be in Bangkok to receive this year's Lotus Award from the festival. There's also the 3D Cave of Forgotten Dreams by Werner Herzog. Here's the complete film list and the schedule.

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