The critically acclaimed 2007 smash-hit Love of Siam catapulted young director Chookiat Sakveerakul to worldwide fame with its tender story of gay teenage puppy love and family dysfunction.
And matters of heart and family are still near and dear to him as he explores them in his new movie Home (Home ความรัก ความสุข ความทรงจำ, Home Khwam Rak Khwam Sook Khwam Songjam), which opens in wide release in Thailand on April 19.
A VIP premiere was held last night at Bangkok's House cinema, and folks are already raving about it. And, in a mysteriously light week for Thai releases during the big Songkran Thai New Year holiday, there will be limited nightly sneak previews for Home in select Bangkok cinemas, during the long weekend running through Monday.
Home is a collection of three stories set in Chookiat's northern Thailand hometown of Chiang Mai.
One has a pair of high-school pals (Juthawut Wattanakampon and Kittisak Pathomburana) reminiscing about their school days, and there's an undercurrent that there's perhaps something more to the friendship.
Another thread is about a northern gal ("Noon" Siriphan Wattanajinda) who's getting cold feet as she's about to marry a southern lad (Ruangsak Loychoosak).
And a third storyline stars veteran actress Penpak Sirikul – yes, her, again – who earlier this year starred in It Gets Better and is on big screens now in She. In Home, she portrays a soon-to-be-widowed wife of a man (Witoon Jaiprom) with terminal cancer.
Love of Siam star Witwisit Hirunyawongkul figures in there somewhere too.
Promisingly, the movie is rated 18+, indicating there's material that the censors felt was pretty strong.
Since Love of Siam, Chookiat, or "Madiaw" as he's known by his pals, has been busy starting his own multimedia production company which focuses on films, TV commercials and music, among other things.
In film, he's mainly been doing short projects, like the animated segment for 4 Romances, a short for the Sawasdee Bangkok project and a segment for the horror omnibus Lud 4 Lud. He also produced the movie last year called Puan Mai Kao, about school chums (played by members of Love of Siam's August Band) taking a cycling trip across Thailand. And he's been active with has various music projects.
A look at his filmography will reveal there's two sides to Chookiat – the guy who makes tender, sentimental family-oriented movies like Love of Siam and Home and the helmer of such gory thrillers as 2004's Pisaj (Evil) and 2006's 13 Beloved, a.k.a. 13: Game of Death.
And fans of the latter kind of movies are probably wondering at the top of their lungs – when the heck will the sequel to 13: Game of Death ever be made!? Well, 14 Beyond, envisioned as a blockbuster action flick, has been on Sahamongkol's calendar for the past few years, but keeps getting pushed back out of budgetary concerns. But word is, after Home, it'll be time to get to work on 14 Beyond. Fingers crossed for that one.
In the meantime, check out the English-subtitled trailer for Home, embedded below, and see if you can hold back the tears.