Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mahachai shrimp pickers go Overseas to Locarno

Switzerland's celebrated Locarno Film Festival is on, screening movies from all over the world, with the centerpiece venue being the 8,800-seat open-air Piazza Grande.

Among the selection in the fest's 65th edition are two from Thailand.

One of them is Mekong Hotel from Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who also heads the main competition jury that awards the Golden Leopards.

And there's Overseas, a short by Anocha Suwichakornpong and Wichanon Sumumjarn, who recently won a prize in India's Osian's Cinefan fest for his debut feature, In April the Following Year, There Was a Fire. Apichatpong's Mekong Hotel was also featured at the New Delhi fest.

Overseas (โพ้นทะเล, Pohn Talay) is a 16-minute drama that's set in Mahachai, a river-port town not far from Bangkok that's known for its unique market on the railroad tracks.

It is home to the seafood industry, which employs vast numbers of mainly Myanmar migrant laborers who work at the tedious chore of processing shrimp and other seafood.

Here is where the story of Overseas takes place:

Wawa Kai, a Burmese immigrant worker, wakes up, brushes her teeth and takes a cold shower. She goes to work at a factory where she grades squids and shrimps according to their sizes. But today she is not feeling well and has to take the afternoon off to report a crime.

There's a trailer at the Electric Eel YouTube Channel, and it's embedded below.

Speaking of trailers, Locarno is also showing 20 Little Films, a compilation of trailers for the Vienna film festival, including Empire by Apichatpong.

The Locarno festival runs until Saturday.

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